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Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jan;53(1 Suppl):370S-372S.

Vitamin E supplementation and periventricular hemorrhage in the newborn.

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Neonatal Medical Unit, North Western Regional Perinatal Centre, Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester, UK.


In a randomized controlled trial preterm babies received 20 mg vitamin E/kg im soon after birth (day 0) and at 24 and 48 h. The mean +/- SD plasma vitamin E level on day 0 was identical in supplemented and control groups (9.98 +/- 4.88 mumol/L) and rose progressively only in supplemented babies reaching a peak of 69.2 +/- 21.36 mumol/L at 72 h. Supplemented babies had a lower incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) diagnosed by ultrasound (9/102, 8.8%) than the control group (37/108, 34.3%; 95% CI for difference in incidence, 15-36%). In a subsequent uncontrolled study using the same vitamin E preparation, a single dose of 20 mg/kg was given soon after birth to preterm babies. The peak mean +/- SD plasma level was 32.97 +/- 13.47 mumol/L at 48 h. The incidence of IVH (16/121, 13.2%) was lower than in historical control from the randomized trial (95% CI for difference; 10.2-31.8%) in spite of the single-dose group having more clinical risk factors for IVH. We conclude that vitamin E protects against IVH in preterm babies.

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