Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a major morbidity and cause 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.