Prophylactic Probiotics for Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

Olsen et al, Neonatology, Vol. 109, No. 2, 2016

Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a major morbidity and 15339310000005DC-3068560-image-m-2_1430822607089cause of mortality in preterm neonates. Probiotics seem to have a beneficial role in preventing NEC, which is confirmed in meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We therefore aimed to review and confirm the efficacy of probiotics in preterm neonates obtained in observational studies.

Objective: To assess the effects of prophylactic probiotics in preterm infants.

Conclusions: Probiotic supplementation reduces the risk of NEC and mortality in preterm infants. The effect sizes are similar to findings in meta-analyses of RCTs. However, the optimal strain, dose and timing need further investigation.