Respiratory syncytial virus infections in children admitted to the intensive care unit

Pediatrie. 1989;44(7):583-8.


During the winter of 1986-1987, 64 children with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection were admitted to our hospital. The diagnosis was made by direct immunofluorescent antibody technique. Twenty-three children (36%) needed intensive care treatment. Nearly 11 (52%) had a preexisting disease state, identified as a risk factor i.e., prematurity (n = 8), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (n = 2), congenital heart disease (n = 1). Twelve patients (50%) were intubated and ventilated. Conditions for intubation and ventilation were repetitive apnea with or without bradycardia (n = 4), clinical deterioration (n = 3) or hypercarbia (n = 5). Seventy-five percent of the patients who needed intensive care management were under three months of age compared to 34% of the children who were admitted to the clinical ward. The mean age for ventilated patients was 7.9 weeks. The mean duration of ventilation was 5.5 days. Volume controlled ventilation was initially applied to all patients. Pulmonary complications (atelectasis, pneumonia, pneumothorax or adult respiratory distress syndrome) were present in 15 (65%) IC patients. Nine (39%) of them also had symptoms of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (IADHS). Only two patients had symptoms of IADHS and two others had convulsions. Three children (5%) died as a result of respiratory insufficiency. Two of these infants belonged to the risk group.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis / etiology*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate ADH Syndrome / complications
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Male
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses
  • Respirovirus Infections / complications*