BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Evidence suggests that intramuscular vitamin A reduces the risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm infants. Our objective was to compare enteral water-soluble vitamin A with placebo supplementation to reduce the severity of BPD in extremely preterm infants.
METHODS: We conducted a double-blind randomized controlled trial in infants <28 weeks' gestation who were to receive either enteral water-soluble vitamin A (5000 IU per day) or a placebo. Supplementation was started within 24 hours of introduction of feeds and continued until 34 weeks' postmenstrual age (PMA). The primary outcome was the severity of BPD, assessed by using the right shift of the pulse oximeter saturation versus the inspired oxygen pressure curve.
RESULTS: A total of 188 infants were randomly assigned. The mean ± SD birth weight (852 ± 201 vs 852 ± 211 g) and gestation (25.8 ± 1.49 vs 26.0 ± 1.39 weeks) were comparable between the vitamin A and placebo groups. There was no difference in the right shift (median [25th-75th percentiles]) of the pulse oximeter saturation versus inspired oxygen pressure curve (in kilopascals) between the vitamin A (11.1 [9.5-13.7]) and placebo groups (10.7 [9.5-13.1]) (P = .73). Enteral vitamin A did not affect diagnosis of BPD or other clinical outcomes. Plasma retinol levels were significantly higher in the vitamin A group versus the placebo group on day 28 and at 34 weeks' PMA.
CONCLUSIONS: Enteral water-soluble vitamin A supplementation improves plasma retinol levels in extremely preterm infants but does not reduce the severity of BPD.