Intensive care course and outcome of patients infected with respiratory syncytial virus

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1992 Jul;13(3):143-50. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950130304.


PICU admissions of 97 children positive for respiratory syncytial virus on fluorescent antibody screening were reviewed; 68% of 44 patients without history of preceding disease (Group I) and 79% of 53 patients with preceding pulmonary, cardiac, or other disease (Group II) required ventilation. In Group I ventilated children weighted significantly less (P = 0.001) and were of lower chronological (P = 0.02) and post-conceptional ages (P = 0.02) than those not ventilated. Eighteen infants ventilated for apnea weighted significantly less (P = 0.003), were more often born at less than or equal to 37 weeks gestation (P = 0.001) and were at lower post-conceptional age than 11 infants ventilated for progressive respiratory deterioration. There was no significant difference in mean weight, chronological age, post-conceptional age, CO2, or pH between 12 admissions with BPD who required ventilation for RSV infection and 5 who did not require ventilation. Ribavirin administration to five ventilated patients with BPD did not significantly alter the duration of intubation of PICU stay. Six patients with cardiac disease required longer periods of ventilation than others (Group I, P = 0.001; all others in Group II, P = 0.04). No deaths occurred in Group I, while 6 of 53 (11%) patients in Group II died. In this series immuno compromise placed patients at greatest risk of dying. Mechanical ventilation can be safely managed in previously healthy, RSV infected infants and should be initiated before significant cardiorespiratory compromise arises.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses*
  • Respirovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respirovirus Infections / etiology
  • Respirovirus Infections / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ribavirin