Objectives: To evaluate the safety, tolerance, and efficacy of palivizumab in children with hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease (CHD).
Study design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 1287 children with CHD randomly assigned 1:1 to receive 5 monthly intramuscular injections of 15 mg/kg palivizumab or placebo. Children were followed for 150 days. The primary efficacy end point was antigen-confirmed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalization.
Results: Palivizumab recipients had a 45% relative reduction in RSV hospitalizations (P=.003), a 56% reduction in total days of RSV hospitalization per 100 children (P=.003), and a 73% reduction in total RSV hospital days with increased supplemental oxygen per 100 children (P=.014). Adverse events were similar in the treatment groups; no child had drug discontinued for a related adverse event. Serious adverse events occurred in 55.4% of palivizumab recipients and 63.1% of placebo recipients (P<.005); none were related to palivizumab. Twenty-one children (3.3%) in the palivizumab group and 27 (4.2%) in the placebo group died; no deaths were attributed to palivizumab. The rates of cardiac surgeries performed earlier than planned were similar in the treatment groups.
Conclusions: Monthly palivizumab (15 mg/kg IM) was safe, well-tolerated, and effective for prophylaxis of serious RSV disease in young children with hemodynamically significant CHD.