Effectiveness of feeding supplementation in preterm infants: an overview of systematic reviews

Preterm infants contain higher nutrition needs than term infants.  Single specific systematic reviews (SRs) assessed the effectiveness of various feeding supplementation by describing the improvement in health outcomes. A recent review comprehensively described the effectiveness of feeding supplementation in promoting health outcomes of preterm infants.

A literature search was conducted to find the relevant SRs which followed strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. 

The following results were obtained-

  • 17 SRs were included in the final review. 
  • SRs documented 15 different varieties of feeding supplementation. 
  • In preterm infants, the effectiveness of feeding supplementation along with regular breastfeeding was largely shown in six factors: physical health, neurodevelopment, biochemical outcomes, other health outcomes, morbidity and all-cause mortality. 
  • Most systematic reviews found the effectiveness of the interventions on health outcomes in preterm infants. 
  • The methodological quality of all the SRs stood high, and the majority of the evidence was of low or very low quality.

These findings will facilitate a better understanding of feeding supplementation in preterm infants. Although the feeling supplements may improve the health outcomes in preterm infants, the existing evidence is unsure. Thus, these supplements should be cautiously used in clinics and more well-designed RCTs are warranted to further address the unsolved problems of the included SRs.

SOURCE- BMC Pediatric. 2022;22(1):20. Published 2022 Jan 4. doi:10.1186/s12887-021-03052-w


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