INTRODUCTION: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation in the neonatal period has been proposed to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in very preterm infants. We aim to determine the effects of an enteral supplementation with high doses of DHA on the risk for BPD at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age (PMA) in very preterm infants born less than 29 weeks' gestation compared with a control. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) searching PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, MedRxiv, ClinicalTrials.gov (up to 1 November 2021) as well as reference lists and citations of included articles and previous reviews. RCTs targeting infants born less than 29 weeks' gestation and evaluating the effect of high doses of DHA enteral supplementation in the neonatal period compared with a control will be eligible. Primary outcome will be BPD defined as the need for oxygen and/or ventilation at 36 weeks' PMA. Two authors will independently screen for inclusion, extract data and assess data quality using the Cochrane instrument (risk-of-bias tool 2.0). We will perform meta-analysis using random effects models. Prespecified subgroup analyses are planned for the infant gestational age and sex, the marine source of DHA, mode of administration and duration of exposure. Sensitivity analysis will be performed according to the accuracy of the BPD definition (ie, physiological definition) and according to the risk of bias of the RCTs. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis does not require ethics approval, as no primary data are collected. This study will assess the effectiveness of high doses of enteral DHA supplementation on BPD and provide evidence to clinicians and families for decision-making. Findings will be disseminated through conferences, media interviews and publications to peer review journals. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42021286705.
- NUTRITION & DIETETICS
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