Introduction: The REGAL (RSV Evidence-a Geographical Archive of the Literature) series provide a comprehensive review of the published evidence in the field of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Western countries over the last 20 years. This fourth publication covers the risk and burden of RSV infection in infants with congenital heart disease (CHD).
Methods: A systematic review was undertaken for articles published between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2015 across PubMed, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and Clinicaltrials.gov. Studies reporting data for hospital visits/admissions for RSV infection among children with CHD as well as studies reporting RSV-associated morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs were included. The focus was on children not receiving RSV prophylaxis. Study quality and strength of evidence (SOE) were graded using recognized criteria.
Results: A total of 1325 studies were identified of which 38 were included. CHD, in particular hemodynamically significant CHD, is an independent predictor for RSV hospitalization (RSVH) (high SOE). RSVH rates were generally high in young children (<4 years) with CHD (various classifications), varying between 14 and 357/1000 (high SOE). Children (<6 years) with RSV infection spent 4.4-14 days in hospital, with up to 53% requiring intensive care (high SOE). Infants (<2 years) with CHD had a more severe course of RSVH than those without CHD (high SOE). Case fatality rates of up to 3% were associated with RSV infection in children with CHD (high SOE). RSV infection in the perioperative period of corrective surgery and nosocomial RSV infection in intensive care units also represent important causes of morbidity (moderate SOE).
Conclusion: CHD poses a significant risk for RSVH and subsequent morbidity and mortality. RSV infection often complicates corrective heart surgery. To reduce the burden and improve outcomes, further research and specific studies are needed to determine the longer-term effects of severe RSV infection in young children with CHD.
Keywords: Burden; Congenital heart disease; Hemodynamically significant; High risk; Hospitalization; Morbidity; Mortality; Non-hemodynamically significant; Respiratory syncytial virus.