When prebiotics (a food or dietary supplement that can modulate gut flora) combine with probiotics (intestinal bacterial flora that are beneficial to one’s health), one gets “synbiotics”, the term reflecting the beneficial effect they can both have on each other. So if one gives synbiotics to a sick infant, can it influence outcome? Dilli et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1262) attempted to do just that by performing a prospective, randomized, blinded controlled trial on 100 infants to determine if synbiotics influence outcome in infants with cyanotic congenital heart disease. Outcome measures studied included nosocomial sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, length of NICU stay, and death.
The results are impressive in this study and suggest that synbiotics may be playing a helpful role in these sick infants. There is a lot of interesting and informative information to digest, so if you want to learn more about synbiotics and their possible use in your sickest newborn patients, hyperlink to this study and read on.