The effect of daily probiotics on the incidence and severity of necrotizing enterocolitis in infants with very low birth weight

Jessica Que, Rhonda Van Oerle, Susan Albersheim, Julia Panczuk, Hannah Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. The role of prophylactic probiotics in its prevention is unclear. This study evaluates the effect of routine probiotics on the incidence and severity of necrotizing enterocolitis in infants with very low birth weight in the neonatal intensive care unit. Methods: This retrospective cohort study compared infants cared for at a single institution before and after implementation of routine probiotic administration (2014- 2018). Babies born after July 2016 received probiotics containing Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus daily until 35 weeks corrected gestational age. Baseline characteristics, necrotizing enterocolitis incidence and severity, infections, mortality, and length of stay were compared between groups. Results: Of the 665 infants included in the study, 310 received probiotics and 355 did not. The 2 groups did not differ with regard to gestational age, birth anthropometrics, mode of delivery, comorbidities, and type of enteral feed. The incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (Bell's stage 2 of 3) was similar between groups (4% v. 5%, p = 0.35), as was its severity (p = 0.10). In addition, there were no significant differences in mortality and length of stay between the groups. Significantly fewer infants receiving probiotics developed infections (27% v. 34%, p = 0.046), with the rate of urinary tract infections having the largest reduction. Conclusion: The routine use of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus probiotics in infants with very low birth weight did not significantly affect the incidence and severity of necrotizing enterocolitis. However, the use of probiotics was associated with fewer overall infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E644-E649
JournalCanadian Journal of Surgery
Volume64
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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