Table 1

NEC incidence and severity, sepsis incidence, and baseline data in the pre-probiotics vs routine probiotics epochs

FactorPre-probiotics epoch n=469Routine probiotics epoch n=513
NEC diagnostic system
 Modified Bell’s ≥2a35 (7.5%)16 (3.1%)
 Vermont-Oxford30 (6.4%)15 (2.9%)
 Battersby et al37 (7.9%)19 (3.7%)
NEC severity
 Modified Bell’s 2a or 2b6 (1.3%)2 (0.4%)
 Modified Bell’s 3a or 3b29 (6.2%)14 (2.7%)
Surgical NEC30 (6.4%)15 (2.9%)
 Drains only41
 Laparotomy±drain2013
 Died before laparotomy61
Postnatal age at NEC diagnosis (days)12 (6–21)18 (11–30)
Postmenstrual age at NEC diagnosis (weeks)27 (26–29)28 (26–31)
Mortality before discharge among NEC cases16 (46%)3 (19%)
Spontaneous intestinal perforation2 (0.4%)6 (1.1%)
Sepsis
 Early onset sepsis10 (1.1%)1 (0.2%)
 Late-onset sepsis106 (22.6%)59 (11.5%)
 Responsible isolates*
  CoNS87 (18.6%)47 (9.2%)
  Gram-negative19 (4.1%)6 (1.2%)
  Enterococcus11 (2.3%)2 (0.4%)
  Other organism15 (3.2%)6 (1.2%)
  Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium sepsis0 (0%)0 (0%)
Sex, female225 (48%)261 (51%)
Mode of delivery
 Vaginal193 (42%)229 (45%)
 Caesarean271 (58%)284 (55%)
PROM
 No306 (65%)347 (68%)
 Yes103 (22%)118 (23%)
 Not recorded60 (13%)48 (9%)
NSAID treatment for PDA
 None421 (90%)487 (95%)
 Indometacin37 (8%)0 (0%)
 Ibuprofen11 (2%)26 (5%)
Birth weight (g)1100 (810–1410)1100 (832–1430)
Gestational age (weeks)28 (26–30)28 (26–31)
SGA114 (24%)132 (26%)
Antenatal steroids405 (87%)447 (88%)
Received initial antibiotics†502/599 (83.8%)509/597 (85.6%)
Days to first enteral feed2 (1–4)2 (2–3)
Enteral feeding‡
 Never fed34 (7%)32 (6%)
 Mother’s own breast milk only198 (42%)322 (63%)
 Donor breast milk only0 (0%)9 (2%)
 Preterm formula only50 (11%)23 (4%)
 Mixed (formula and any breast milk)186 (40%)127 (25%)
  • Data are median (IQR) or number (%).

  • *For individual infants who had at least one such sepsis episode.

  • †Data presented are for all babies born at <32 weeks’ gestation within the epochs who received initial empirical antibiotics (benzylpenicillin and gentamicin) following admission to NICU.

  • ‡Mode of milk feeding between first feed and full feeds or NEC/death if earlier.

  • PDA, patent ductus arteriosus; CoNS, coagulase-negative staphylococci;NEC, necrotising enterocolitis; NICU, neonatal intensive care unit; NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; PROM, prolonged rupture of membranes;SGA, small for gestational age.