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Table 1 Summary of basic characteristics of selected studies

From: Early and late Iron supplementation for low birth weight infants: a meta-analysis

Study # 1st AU (year) Study design Inclusion criteria Medical iron source Group Route ; dose Number of subject Gestation age (weeks) Birth weight (kg) Gender (male/female) Evaluated time point
1 Joy [17] RCT Intramural preterm (<37 weeks gestational age) VLBW infants (birth weight 1000–1500 g) who reached full enteral feeds of 180 mL/kg/day by 2 weeks postnatal age colloidal ferric hydroxide early PO; 2 mg/kg/day start at 2 weeks postnatal age 52 32.4 ± 1.7 1.35 ± 0.15 27/23 12 weeks
     late PO; 2 mg/kg/day start at 6 weeks postnatal age 52 32.4 ± 1.6 1.33 ± 0.14 24/26  
2 Sankar [18] RCT Preterm VLBW (<1500 g) infants who reached at least 100 mL/kg/day of oral feeds by day 14 colloidal iron early PO; 3–4 mg/kg/d at 2 weeks 22 32.4 ± 1.8 1.189 ± 0.228 12/10 60 days
     late PO; no iron until 60 days 24 31.5 ± 2.6 1.213 ± 0.196 12/12  
3 Arnon [19] RCT All infants with a gestational age of 32 weeks who were fed human milk and reached enteral intake of 100 mL/kg/d Iron trivalent (III)– hydroxide polymaltose complex early PO; 5 mg/kg/d enteral iron polymaltose complex at 2 weeks 32 30 (27, 32)† 1.248 (0.859, 1.960)† 18/12 8 weeks
     late PO; 5 mg/kg/d enteral iron polymaltose complex at 4 weeks 36 29 (27, 32)† 1.072 (0.830, 2.173)† 14/16  
4 Franz [21] RCT All inborn infants with a birth weight of < 1301 g ferrous sulfate early PO; 2–4 mg/kg/d oral iron once enteral feeding was tolerated 105 26.7 (23, 33)* 0.868 (0.380, 1.300)* na 61 days
     late PO; started at 61 days of life at a dose of 2 mg/kg/day. 99 26.9 (23, 35)* 0.872 (0.370, 1.300)*  
5 Jansson [20] RCT LBW infants with a birth weight 2000 g and/or a gestational age of 35 weeks ferrous succinate early PO; 2–3 mg/kg/day from 3 weeks of age 15 All: 34 (29–37)* 1.855 ± 0.430 na 1-2 days; 8–10 weeks; 6 months
     late PO; 2–3 mg/kg/day from 2 months of age 13   1.779 ± 0.327  
  1. Gestational age and birth weight were presented as mean ± SD.
  2. *mean (range); †median (range).
  3. na, not available; PO, per os;RCT, randomized clinical trial; VLBW, very low birth weight.