Evidence is insufficient for recommending oropharyngeal colostrum as a routine clinical practice in the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis in very low birthweight infants.

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Effect of oropharyngeal colostrum therapy in the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis among very low birthweight neonates: A meta‐analysis of randomised controlled trials

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Background

Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most common life‐threatening emergencies of the gastrointestinal tract in preterm neonates. The present study aimed to determine the efficacy of oropharyngeal colostrum with respect to reducing NEC in preterm neonates.

Methods

A literature search was conducted for various randomised control trials by searching the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, EMBASE and ongoing clinical trials. Randomised or quasi‐randomised trials comparing oropharyngeal colostrum versus placebo in neonates (birthweight ≤ 1500 g or gestational age ≤ 32 weeks) were included in the review. The methodological quality of each trial was independently reviewed by the authors. For categorical and continuous variables, typical estimates for relative risk and typical estimates for weighted mean difference were calculated, respectively. A random effect model was assumed for meta‐analysis.

Results

In total, four eligible trials were included in the review. Oropharyngeal colostrum therapy was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of NEC stage ≥2 [typical relative risk (RR) = 0.64; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.27–1.49], mortality from any cause (typical RR = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.15–4.80) and time to reach full feed [typical weighted mean difference (WMD) = −3.26; 95% CI = −8.87 to 2.35]. Duration of hospital stay was significantly less in the control group (typical WMD = 9.77; 95% CI = 3.96–15.59).

Conclusions

The current evidence is insufficient for recommending oropharyngeal colostrum as a routine clinical practice in the prevention of NEC. We emphasise the need for large randomised controlled trials with an adequate sample size and validated clinical outcomes in preterm neonates.

 

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