Objective To determine the effects of oral vitamin A supplementation on clinical outcomes in preterm infants. Design We conducted the meta-analysis by searching PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library databases from inception to 12 August 2021, including reference lists of retrieved articles. Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of oral vitamin A on premature babies were included. We used a random-effects model to calculate risk ratios (RRs) and weighted mean differences (MDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We used the GRADE approach to grade evidence quality and assess how oral vitamin A supplementation affects clinical outcomes.
Main outcomes measures The primary outcomes were respiratory outcomes, including the length of respiratory support, the need for oxygen at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA), and moderate-to-severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) at 36 weeks PMA. Secondary outcomes were hospitalization time, vitamin A status, mortality, other related outcomes, and potential adverse drugrelated events.
Results We included four RCTs, with 800 patients total. In all trials, oral vitamin A treatment was compared to a placebo. Oral vitamin A supplementation did not significantly affect mechanical ventilation duration (MD, −1.07 days; 95% CI, −2.98 to 0.83 days), oxygen requirement at 36 weeks PMA (RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.33 to 1.31), or moderate-to-severe BPD at 36 weeks PMA (RR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.07 to 4.17). However, oral vitamin A supplementation yielded a slightly shorter noninvasive ventilation duration (MD, −0.96 days; 95% CI, −1.59 to −0.33 days).
Conclusions Administering oral vitamin A to preterm newborns did not alter the mechanical ventilation duration, oxygen needed at 36 weeks PMA, moderate-to-severe BPD at 36 weeks PMA, death, or short-term benefits. However, oral vitamin A supplementation may slightly affect the duration of noninvasive respiratory support without adverse drug-related events.