Intravenous immunoglobulin for suspected or proven infection in neonates.

  Updated Cochrane review 27 March 2015

Background

Neonates are at higher risk of infection due to immuno-incompetence. Maternal transport of immunoglobulins to the fetus mainly occurs after 32 weeks' gestation, and endogenous synthesis begins several months after birth. Administration of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) provides immunoglobulin G (IgG) that can bind to cell surface receptors, provide opsonic activity, activate complement, promote antibody-dependent cytotoxicity and improve neutrophilic chemo-luminescence. Theoretically, infectious morbidity and mortality could be reduced by the administration of IVIG.

Objectives

To assess the effects of IVIG on mortality and morbidity caused by suspected or proven infection at study entry in neonates. To assess in a subgroup analysis the effects of IgM-enriched IVIG on mortality from suspected infection.

Authors' conclusions

The undisputable results of the INIS trial, which enrolled 3493 infants, and our meta-analyses (n = 3973) showed no reduction in mortality during hospital stay, or death or major disability at two years of age in infants with suspected or proven infection. Although based on a small sample size (n = 266), this update provides additional evidence that IgM-enriched IVIG does not significantly reduce mortality during hospital stay in infants with suspected infection. Routine administration of IVIG or IgM-enriched IVIG to prevent mortality in infants with suspected or proven neonatal infection is not recommended. No further research is recommended.