Background: Neonatal necrotising enterocolitis is a serious, commonly fatal disease in premature neonates. Although feeding with expressed breast milk and other good nursery practices are partly protective, preventive measures are needed. Treating neonates enterally with a mixture of human IgA and IgG, prepared from donated blood, has been claimed to protect against necrotising enterocolitis. However, no IgA preparation is available in Australia. Our aim, therefore, was to identify whether or not enteral IgG could prevent the disorder. Methods: We did a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. We randomly assigned 768 infants to receive human IgG 1200 mg/kg daily, and 761 to receive placebo, for up to 28 days. Treatment began at the same time as enteral feeding. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of infants who developed definite necrotising enterocolitis during the trial, and any deaths that resulted from the disorder in the treatment and placebo groups. Analysis was on an intention-to-treat basis. Findings: 43 infants developed definite necrotising enterocolitis in the IgG group, ten of whom died. In the placebo group, 41 infants contracted the disorder and six died (p=0·47). 25 infants on IgG and 36 on placebo had suspect necrotising enterocolitis (p=0·14). Interpretation: Supplementation of enteral feeds with human IgG does not reduce necrotising enterocolitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas