Objective: To assess the effect of probiotics on the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants born to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive and HIV-negative women.
Patients and methods: HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed premature infants were randomized to either the probiotic or the placebo group. The probiotic consisted of 1 × 10(9) colony-forming units, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium infantis per day.
Results: In total, 74 HIV-exposed and 110 HIV-unexposed infants were enrolled and randomized. The incidence of death [4 (5.4%) vs. 7 (6%); p = 0.79] and NEC [4 (5%) vs. 5 (5%); p = 0.76] did not differ significantly between the HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed groups. A significant difference was found for total NEC incidence between the study and control groups [3 (3%) vs. 6 (6%); p = 0.029]. The incidence of NEC in the HIV-exposed group differed significantly [Bells I 2 (5%) vs. Bells III 2 (5%); p = 0.045).
Conclusion: Probiotic supplementation reduced the incidence of NEC in the premature very low birth weight infants; however, results failed to show a lower incidence of NEC in HIV-exposed premature infants. A reduction in the severity of disease was found in the HIV-exposed study group.
Keywords: human immunodeficiency virus; necrotizing enterocolitis; premature infant; probiotic; very low birth weight.
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