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The use of the anticoagulant heparin to reduce the risk of intraventricular haemorrhage (i.e. bleeding in the brain) in very preterm infants

Background: Heparin is a drug that modulates blood coagulation together with other factors. On the basis of an observational study in very preterm infants, it has been suggested that the administration of drugs that prevent clotting (anticoagulants) such as heparin may reduce the risk of intraventricular haemorrhage and progression of intraventricular haemorrhage, a frequent complication of preterm neonates. This systematic review synthesises the available evidence on the effectiveness of heparin in preventing intraventricular haemorrhage in very preterm neonates.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

The use of the anticoagulant antithrombin to reduce the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage (i.e. bleeding in the brain) in very preterm infants

Background: Antithrombin is a drug that modulates blood coagulation together with other factors. Very low birth weight newborn infants (i.e. those neonates with a gestational age less than 32 weeks) have low level of antithrombin in the blood. On the basis of an observational study in very preterm infants, it has been suggested that the administration of drugs that prevent clotting (anticoagulants) such as antithrombin may reduce the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage and progression of intraventricular hemorrhage, a frequent complication of preterm neonates. This systematic review synthesizes the available evidence on the effectiveness of antithrombin in preventing intraventricular hemorrhage in very preterm neonates.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Vitamin E supplementation for prevention of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants

Giving extra vitamin E to preterm babies can provide some benefits, but it increases the risk of life‐threatening infections. Preterm babies (born before 37 weeks) can develop a range of problems because their organs are not mature. Vitamin E may be able to help prevent or limit some of these problems, but it can potentially also have harmful effects. Breast milk of a woman who has given birth prematurely has higher than usual levels of vitamin E. Preterm babies can be given extra vitamin E as vitamin drops, in vitamin E‐enriched formula, in intravenous fluids, or by injection into their muscles. This review of studies of vitamin E supplements found that while extra vitamin E reduces the chances of some complications (including disease of the retina), the risk of life‐threatening infection is increased. The risk of bleeding in the brain is increased when extra vitamin E is given by vein but decreased when the extra vitamin E is given by other routes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Immediate or delayed birth for a preterm fetus with suspected compromise

For a fetus who is not receiving enough oxygen or nutrients, the choice is to deliver the baby immediately (following a course of steroids to help the baby’s lungs to mature) or to wait as long as is thought to be safe. This review looked at which option was better for mothers and babies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

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