Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

StudyYearProbiotic usedPlaceboNumber of patientsPrimary outcome definedBell’s stage 3Surgery for NECDeath from NEC
Al-Hosni et al 10 2012 Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG+Bifidobacterium infantis in milkUnsupplemented milk5051Weight501–1000 gxx
Bin-Nun et al 11 2005 Lactobacillus bifidus, Streptococcus thermophilus
and B. infantis in milk
Unsupplemented milk7273NEC<1500 g BWxx
Costeloe et al 12 2015 Bifidobacterium breve BBG-001 in milkUnsupplemented formula654661NEC (stage 2 or 3)23–30 weeks GAxxx
Dani et al 13 2002 Lactobacillus GG in milkMaltodextrins in milk295290Urinary tract infection, bacterial sepsis and NEC<33 weeks GA or <1500 g BWxx
Demirel et al 14 2013 Saccharomyces boulardii No addition135136NEC stage ≥2, death<32 weeks GA and <1500 g BWxx
Fernández-Carrocera et al 9 2013 Lactobacillus 4 spp
Bifidobacterium infantis
S. thermophilus
No addition7575NEC<1500 g BWxx
Jacobs et al 15 2013 B. infantis, S. thermophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis Maltodextrin548551Late-onset sepsis<32 weeks GA and BW <1500 gx
Lin et al 16 2005 Lactobacillus acidophilus and B. infantis No addition180187NEC, death, sepsis<1500 g BWxx
Lin et al 17 2008 L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum No addition217217NEC, death<1500 gxx
Manzoni et al 18 2006 Lactobacillus casei sp rhamnosusNo addition3941Enteric fungal colonisation<1500 gxxx
Oncel et al 19 2014 Lactobacillus reuteri in oil baseOil base200200Death, NEC<32 weeks GA and <1500 g BWx
Rougé et al 20 2009 Bifidobacterium longum and L. rhamnosus Maltodextrin4549Enteral feeding<32 weeks GA and <1500 g BWx
Saengtawesin et al 21 2014 L. acidophilus and B. bifidum No addition3129NEC, death<34 weeks GA and <1500 g BWxx
Sari et al 22 2011 Lactobacillus sporogenes No addition110111NEC, death<33 weeks GA and <1500 g BWxxx
Serce et al 23 2013 S. boulardii Distilled water104104NEC, sepsis, death<34 weeks GA and <1500 g BWx
Tewari et al 24 2015 Bacillus clausii Sterile water123121Sepsis<34 weeks GAx
Totsu et al 27*2014 B. bifidum Dextrin153130Full enteral feeding<1500 gxxx
Van Niekerk et al 25 2015 L. rhamnosus and B. infantis Medium chain triglyceride oil9193NEC, sepsis>500 g and <1250 g, breast milk fedxx
Xu et al 26*2016 S. boulardii No addition6362Growth30–37 weeks and 1500–2500 g BWxxx
  • *Totsu et al and Xu et al both reported zero cases of NEC so other NEC outcomes are by definition zero.

  • BW, birth weight; GA, gestational age; NEC, necrotising enterocolitis.