The outcome after severe bronchiolitis is related to gender and virus

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Jun;23(4):391-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2012.01283.x. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


The association between bronchiolitis in the first year of life and subsequent asthma, atopy, airway obstruction and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) is unsettled. Genetic predispositions, pre-morbid lung function, environmental interactions and altered immunological responses are risk factors that have been studied. The aim of this study was to assess lung function, BHR and the occurrence of asthma and atopy 11 yr after hospitalization for bronchiolitis in the first year of life, particularly focusing on the role of gender and virus involved. The study included 121 of 131 (92%) children hospitalized for bronchiolitis, 90 (74%) respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-positive children and 141 children in an age-matched and unselected control group. At follow-up, current asthma was more common after RSV-negative bronchiolitis compared to controls (35.5% vs. 9.2%; p < 0.001), but not after RSV bronchiolitis (15.6%; p = 0.144). Higher BHR and an obstructive lung function pattern were observed after bronchiolitis, the latter most prominent after RSV-negative bronchiolitis. Higher BHR was confined to boys, but present in both the RSV-positive and RSV-negative groups (p = 0.007 and 0.003, respectively). Asthma after bronchiolitis was not associated with atopy. Atopy was similarly distributed between the RSV-positive and RSV-negative bronchiolitis groups and the control group. This study has shown that gender and type of virus are important factors to consider when addressing later development of asthma, BHR and lung function after hospitalization for bronchiolitis in early life.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchiolitis / complications*
  • Bronchiolitis / physiopathology
  • Bronchiolitis / virology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / complications*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors