Vitamin A Supplementation for the Prevention of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia in Preterm Infants: An Update

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Abstract

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a common complication of premature birth and is associated with significant morbidity. Vitamin A supplementation has been suggested as a potential preventative measure against BPD due to its role in lung maturation and because preterm infants are particularly predisposed to vitamin A deficiency. The aim of this review was to determine whether vitamin A supplementation reduces BPD risk among preterm infants. PubMed, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases were searched with the keywords “bronchopulmonary dysplasia,” “vitamin A,” and “preterm infants” and with the time frame of 2006–2016, and 4 studies were selected for review per the inclusion criteria. Only 1 study found a significant reduction in BPD risk associated with vitamin A supplementation; however, 2 studies indicated a nonsignificant benefit and may have been underpowered to show statistical significance. One study revealed an increased risk of sepsis associated with vitamin A supplementation (for infants weighing >1000 g at birth), but no risk was seen with vitamin A supplementation in the other studies. Because intramuscular vitamin A has shown benefit with minimal risk, continued supplementation for preterm infants is warranted. Future studies aimed at assessing infant groups that are most likely to benefit from supplementation (based on birth weight or other conditions), as well as determining the optimal dosing while minimizing injections, would be beneficial.

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