Probiotics for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants Updated Cochrane review

AlFaleh K, Anabrees J. Pub­lished Online: 10 April 2014

Back­ground: 

Necro­tiz­ing ente­ro­col­i­tis (NEC) and noso­co­mi­al sep­sis are asso­ci­at­ed with increased mor­bid­i­ty and mor­tal­i­ty in preterm infants. Through pre­ven­tion of bac­te­r­i­al migra­tion across the mucosa, com­pet­i­tive exclu­sion of path­o­gen­ic bac­te­ria, and enhanc­ing the immune respons­es of the host, pro­phy­lac­tic enter­al pro­bi­otics (live micro­bial sup­ple­ments) may play a role in reduc­ing NEC and the asso­ci­at­ed mor­bid­i­ty.

Authors’ con­clu­sions: 

Enter­al sup­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­bi­otics pre­vents severe NEC and all cause mor­tal­i­ty in preterm infants. Our updat­ed review of avail­able evi­dence strong­ly sup­ports a change in prac­tice. Head to head com­par­a­tive stud­ies are required to assess the most effec­tive prepa­ra­tions, tim­ing, and length of ther­a­py to be uti­lized.