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Probiotics Help in Congenital Heart Disease

September 18, 2013

The oral administration of probiotic products to infants with cyanotic congenital heart disease was associated with improved outcomes, including better survival, a Turkish randomized study found.

Among 100 infants given Bifidobacterium lactis plus inulin or placebo, 8% of the active treatment group developed sepsis compared with 28% of the placebo group (P=0.01), according to Dilek Dilli, MD, and colleagues from the Dr. Sami Ulus Maternity and Children Research and Training Hospital in Ankara.

Use of the probiotic also appeared protective against necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), as five cases occurred in the placebo group and none in the active treatment group. Moreover, mortality was almost three times higher in the placebo group (28% versus 10%, P=0.04), the researchers reported online in Pediatrics.

Children with congenital heart disease often have major surgery and long hospital stays that can increase their risk of sepsis, and those with cyanotic heart conditions have a high incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, possibly because of alterations in mesenteric blood flow.