Objective: To evaluate growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm very low birth weight (PVLBW) infants treated with oral probiotics for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Study design: A prospective follow-up study was performed in a cohort of PVLBW infants enrolled in a single center with a masked randomized control trial to evaluate the efficacy of oral probiotics in preventing NEC. Growth measures included weight, length, and head circumference. Neurologic and sensory performance was evaluated with standard techniques. Psychometric parameters were measured used the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II (BSID-II). The studies were performed at 3 years corrected age. The primary outcome was death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
Results: Of the 367 subjects enrolled in trial, 301 (89.9%) were evaluated (153 in the probiotics group and 148 in the control group). There were no significant differences in growth or in any of the neurodevelopmental and sensory outcomes between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: Oral probiotics given to PVLBW infants at 1 week after birth to reduce the incidence of NEC did not affect growth and neurodevelopmental and sensory outcomes at 3 years corrected age.
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