Influence of a combination of probiotics on bacterial infections in very low birthweight newborns

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2015 Dec:127 Suppl 5:S210-5. doi: 10.1007/s00508-015-0845-0. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Background: Late-onset infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. The purpose of our prospective randomised study was to establish whether a combination of probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium and Bifidobacterium infantum) affects the incidence of late-onset sepsis and other infections in very low birthweight infants (birthweight under 1500 g, gestational age under 33 weeks).

Methods: From 80 included infants, one half received probiotics (L. acidophilus, E. faecium and B. infantum) in the ratio 1.5:1:1.5, at a dose of 0.6 × 107 colony-forming units twice daily, given with the first portions of milk until discharge, whereas the other half did not.

Results: In the group receiving probiotics, 16 children had late-onset sepsis compared with 29 in the group without probiotics; p = 0.006. The number of late-onset septic events was lower (30) in the group receiving probiotics than in the group that did not receive probiotics (69); p = 0.003. Furthermore, fewer children had at least one late-onset infection (20 infants in the group receiving probiotics compared with 32 in the group without them; p = 0.009). There were less episodes of late-onset infections in the group receiving probiotics (35) than in the group without probiotics (79); p = 0.002.

Conclusions: A combination of probiotics at a low dose (1.2 × 107 colony-forming units) decreased the frequency of late-onset sepsis and other infections, as described in previous studies. In addition, children were discharged at a lower postmenstrual age. There were no side effects of probiotics reported.

Keywords: Keywords; hospital infection; late-onset sepsis; preterm infant; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / mortality*
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / microbiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / mortality*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Male
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Slovenia
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome