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Vitamin A supplementation for preventing morbidity and mortality in very low birthweight infants.

BACKGROUND: Vitamin A is necessary for normal lung growth and the ongoing integrity of respiratory tract epithelial cells. Preterm infants have low vitamin A status at birth and this has been associated with increased risk of developing chronic lung disease. Several studies have been undertaken to assess whether vitamin A supplementation beyond that routinely given in multivitamin preparations can reduce the incidence of this outcome.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the benefit of supplementation with vitamin A in very low birthweight infants.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Searches were made of the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, MEDLINE up to June 2002, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (The Cochrane Library, Issue 2, 2002), and Science Citation Index. The reference lists of relevant trials, recent issues of paediatric and nutrition journals, abstracts and proceedings from relevant conferences in the English language were hand searched.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials which compared the effects of supplemental vitamin A with standard vitamin A regimes in infants with birthweight