Objective To evaluate the growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes of very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants supplemented with oral probiotics for the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).
Study Design This prospective follow-up study was conducted in a cohort of VLBW preterm infants enrolled in a randomized-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of oral probiotics for the prevention of NEC. Growth outcomes included weight, length and head circumference. Neurodevelopmental assessment was done using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II (BSID-II). The primary outcome was neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–24 months’ corrected age.
Results A total of 221 infants completed the trial protocol. Of the 208 infants eligible for follow-up, 174 infants (86 in the probiotics group and 88 in the control group) were evaluated. There were no significant difference in growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes between the two groups.
Conclusion Oral probiotic administrated to VLBW infants to reduce the incidence and severity of NEC started with the first feed did not affect growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18–24 months’ corrected age.