Objective: To examine the effectiveness of respiratory syncytial virus immune globulin administered intravenously (RSV-IGIV) in reducing hospitalization for treatment of RSV in children with congenital heart disease (CHD).
Methods: Children younger than 4 years of age were randomly assigned to a treatment group receiving RSV-IGIV, 750 mg/kg, monthly or to a control group not receiving infusions. Surveillance for respiratory tract infections was carried out and management decisions were made by physicians blinded to treatment group.
Results: Hospitalization for treatment of an RSV infection occurred in 32 of 214 (15%) of control children and 21 of 202 (10%) of the children receiving RSV-IGIV, a 31% reduction (P = .16). However, in infants younger than 6 months of age at study entry, 20 of 82 (24%) in the control group and 10 of 96 (10%) in the RSV-IGIV group had RSV hospitalizations (58% reduction, P = .01). The incidence of hospitalization for any respiratory tract symptomatology was lower in the RSV-IGIV group (34 of 202, 17%) than in the control group (57 of 214, 27%; P = .02). There was a significantly higher frequency of unanticipated cyanotic episodes and of poor outcomes after surgery among children with cyanotic CHD in the RSV-IGIV group (22 of 78, 28%) than in the control group (4 of 47, 8.5%; P = .009).
Conclusion: RSV-IGIV should not be used for prophylaxis of RSV disease in children with cyanotic CHD. RSV-IGIV did not reduce RSV hospitalization in all children with CHD, but it was effective in preventing RSV hospitalization in infants younger than 6 months of age. Further studies in these children are indicated.