PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Probiotic administration to premature infants for the purpose of prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis is common in many parts of the world but uncommon in the United States. The present review will emphasize recent findings in support of routine administration of probiotics to this highly vulnerable population. RECENT FINDINGS: Additional evidence from animal models describing mechanisms of protection of probiotics in the immature gut and updated meta-analyses of randomized placebo-controlled trials and observational cohorts are presented (now including more than 40 000 premature infants from countries across the globe). SUMMARY: The preponderance of evidence suggests that probiotic administration to premature infants is well tolerated and decreases the risk of death, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis. Further comparisons of probiotic administration to placebo are not likely to alter these conclusions. Rather, future work should focus on assurance of high-quality products with demonstrated purity and viability of probiotic microbes, and future clinical trials should focus on comparisons between high-quality products and doses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health