Survey of vitamin A supplementation for extremely-low-birth-weight infants: is clinical practice consistent with the evidence?

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To survey the attitudes and practices among level III neonatal intensive care units in the United States regarding vitamin A supplementation for extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW; birth weight < or =1000 g) infants. Study design A pretested questionnaire regarding vitamin A supplementation was distributed to all (n=102) neonatal-perinatal training program directors (TPD) and 105 randomly selected directors of level III neonatal intensive care units (nontraining program directors, NTPD). RESULTS: Ninety-nine percent of TPD and 94% of NTPD responded. In a minority of programs (20% TPD, 13% NTPD), >90% of eligible extremely-low-birth-weight neonates are supplemented with vitamin A, whereas in most programs (69% TPD, 82% NTPD), routine supplementation is not practiced. Most centers (91% TPD, 81% NTPD) supplementing vitamin A use a dose of 5000 IU IM 3 times per week for 4 weeks. The most common reason that TPD give for not supplementing vitamin A is the perceived small benefit, whereas the most common reason for NTPD is that they consider the intervention unproven. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate inconsistency in practicing evidence-based medicine in neonatal practice, where therapies are often administered on the basis of weaker evidence of safety and benefit than supports vitamin A supplementation. Educational interventions may be required to endorse the benefits and safety of vitamin A supplementation.
  • Published In


  • Attitude of Health Personnel, Evidence-Based Medicine, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Very Low Birth Weight, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Pediatrics, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States, Vitamin A
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ambalavanan N; Kennedy K; Tyson J; Carlo WA
  • Start Page

  • 304
  • End Page

  • 307
  • Volume

  • 145
  • Issue

  • 3