Respiratory syncytial virus infections in the pediatric intensive care unit: clinical characteristics and risk factors for adverse outcomes

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2001 Oct;2(4):318-23. doi: 10.1097/00130478-200110000-00006.


Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of infants admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, including the prevalence of indications for RSV passive antibody prophylaxis (as currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics), and to identify risk factors that predict adverse outcomes among this population.

Design: Retrospective medical record review.

Setting: Tertiary care PICU.

Patients: Children <2 yrs of age admitted to PICU for the management of RSV disease during the 1994-95, 1995-96, and 1996-97 RSV seasons.

Measurements and main results: The medical records of 89 infants were reviewed. Of these, 55% were born before 36-wks gestation, 14% had chronic lung disease that required medical therapy within the previous 6 months, and 30% met at least one indication for RSV passive antibody prophylaxis. Seven infants had congenital heart disease, five had upper airway abnormalities, and six had various noncardiac congenital malformations. Logistic regression was used to determine which characteristics were associated with prolonged durations (>75th percentile) of mechanical ventilation, PICU stay, and hospital stay. Prolonged mechanical ventilation was associated with congenital heart disease (p = 0.014), chronic lung disease (p = 0.007), and noncardiac congenital malformations (p = 0.022). Only congenital heart disease was associated with prolonged PICU stay (p = 0.004) or prolonged hospital stay (p = 0.006). All of the infants with airway abnormalities had prolonged ventilator days, PICU days, and hospital days. Currently recommended indications for RSV passive antibody prophylaxis were not predictive of prolonged ventilation, PICU stay, or hospital stay.

Conclusions: A minority of infants admitted to our PICU for severe RSV disease meet currently recommended indications for RSV passive antibody prophylaxis. Risk factors that predict prolonged durations of ventilation, PICU stay, or hospital stay among this population include congenital heart disease, chronic lung disease, upper airway abnormalities, and noncardiac congenital malformations.