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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2014 Sep;47(9):804-10. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

A meta-analysis of probiotics for preventing necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm neonates.

Author information

1
Department of Neonates, Nanjing Children's Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.

Abstract

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most common acquired diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants. Some randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) have indicated that probiotics may potentially lower the incidence of NEC and mortality. However, debate still remains about the safety of probiotics and their influence on normal infant growth. We performed this meta-analysis to assess the safety and benefits of probiotic supplementation in preterm infants. We searched in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases for English references, and in Wanfang, VIP, and CNKI databases for Chinese references. Ultimately, 27 RCTs (including 9 Chinese articles) were incorporated into this meta-analysis. Relative risk (RR) and weighted mean difference (WMD) were calculated using a random-effects or fixed-effects model, depending on the data type and heterogeneity. A total of 6655 preterm infants, including the probiotic group (n=3298) and the placebo group (n=3357), were eligible for inclusion in this meta-analysis. For Bell stage ≥I and gestational age <37 weeks, risk of NEC incidence was significantly lower in the probiotic group [RR=0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.27-0.44, P<0.00001]. For Bell stage ≥II or gestational age <34 weeks, there were likewise significant differences between the probiotic and placebo groups concerning NEC incidence (RR=0.34, 95%CI=0.25-0.48, P<0.00001; and RR=0.39, 95%CI=0.27-0.56, P<0.00001). Risk of death was significantly reduced in the probiotic group (RR=0.58, 95%CI=0.46-0.75, P<0.0001). In contrast, there was no significant difference concerning the risk of sepsis (RR=0.94, 95%CI=0.83-1.06, P=0.31). With respect to weight gain and the age at which infants reached full feeds, no significant differences were found between the probiotic and placebo groups (WMD=1.07, 95%CI=-0.21-2.34, P=0.10; and WMD=-1.66, 95%CI=-3.6-0.27, P=0.09). This meta-analysis has shown that, regardless of gestational age and NEC stage, probiotic supplementation could significantly reduce the risk of NEC in preterm infants. Analysis also indicated that such supplementation did not increase the incidence risk of sepsis or of mortality. Finally, the study showed that probiotic supplementation may have no adverse effect on normal feeding and growth.

PMID:
25098619
PMCID:
PMC4143209
DOI:
10.1590/1414-431x20143857
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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