Evaluating national guidelines for the prophylactic treatment of respiratory syncytial virus in children with congenital heart disease

Acta Paediatr. 2014 Aug;103(8):840-5. doi: 10.1111/apa.12658. Epub 2014 Jul 2.


Aim: This is the first study to evaluate compliance with the 2003 Swedish national guidelines for prophylactic treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children with congenital heart disease (CHD). We estimated the relative risk (RR) of children with CHD being hospitalised with a RSV infection, studied the extent to which RSV prophylactic treatment with palivizumab corresponded to the guidelines and determined the morbidity of children with CHD who developed RSV infection despite prophylaxis.

Methods: This national observational study comprised prospectively registered data on 219 children with CHD treated with palivizumab, medical records on RSV cases and information on hospitalisation rates of children with CHD and RSV infection.

Results: The calculated RR of children with CHD being hospitalised with RSV infection was 2.06 (95% CI 1.6-2.6; p < 0.0001) compared with children without CHD. Approximately half of the patients (49%) born before the RSV season and 25% born during the RSV season did not start treatment as recommended by the guidelines.

Conclusion: Having CHD increased the rate and estimated RR of children being hospitalised with RSV infection. The guidelines were not followed for about half of the children born before a RSV season and a quarter of the children born during a RSV season and need updating.

Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Palivizumab; Prophylaxis; Respiratory syncytial virus; Swedish national guidelines.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Palivizumab
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Palivizumab