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Lancet. 1987 Feb 28;1(8531):466-71.

Vitamin E supplementation reduces frequency of periventricular haemorrhage in very preterm babies.


231 babies, born at less than or equal to 32 weeks' gestation were enrolled in a randomised, controlled trial to assess the efficacy of vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate) in the prevention of periventricular haemorrhage. Daily supplementation with 20 mg/kg vitamin E intramuscularly during the first 3 days of life was associated with a rise in plasma vitamin E concentration and a reduction in hydrogen peroxide haemolysis of red blood cells in vitro. Among babies without haemorrhage on entry to the trial (n = 210), supplemented babies had a lower frequency of intraventricular haemorrhage than controls (8.8% v 34.3%; p less than 0.005) and a lower combined frequency of intraventricular and parenchymal haemorrhage (10.8% v 40.7%; p less than 0.0001) on the final ultrasound brain scan. This protective effect was observed in both inborn and referred babies but was stronger in the former. Supplementation had no effect on mortality, but among survivors fewer supplemented babies than controls had intraventricular or parenchymal haemorrhage (10.7% v 32.6%; p less than 0.001). Possibly, vitamin E scavenges free radicals generated during ischaemic injury of the subependymal region and thereby limits tissue damage and the extent of periventricular haemorrhage on reperfusion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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