Rhinovirus infection associated with serious lower respiratory illness in patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

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Objective.To determine the characteristics of rhinovirus infection in patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia.Subjects and methods.Between July 1, 1993, and July 1, 1995, 40 patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia were identified. Viral cultures were obtained in ambulatory patients presenting with an acute respiratory illness requiring hospitalization or in hospitalized patients with a respiratory deterioration. When rhinovirus was isolated epidemiologic data were collected, and the characteristics of the illness, its severity and outcome were noted. Key features of rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis were compared.Results.There were 8 cases of lower respiratory tract illness associated with rhinovirus infection in 6 infants (mean age, 7.1 ± 4.1 months) and 1 child (age, 40 months), an incidence of 0.15 infection/patient year. The mean gestational age and birth weight of these patients were 27.3 (±2.75) weeks and 853 (±341) g, respectively. There were 5 males. Four patients needed intensive care unit admission and 1 required mechanical ventilation. By comparison there were 13 cases of RSV bronchiolitis, an incidence of 0.25 infection/patient year. The 2 groups were similar epidemiologically and an equal proportion of patients with rhinovirus and RSV needed intensive care unit admission. A greater percentage of patients with RSV required mechanical ventilation (50% vs. 14%), but this difference was not statistically significant. Three cases of rhinovirus were nosocomial, and 1 infant had a second infection. Four patients required 5 hospitalizations caused by rhinovirus infection, and the mean duration of hospital stay was 11 days. All children had sustained worsening in their respiratory status after rhinoviral illness requiring additional therapy.Conclusions.Rhinovirus is a common and potentially serious lower respiratory pathogen in bronchopulmonary dysplasia patients. Rhinovirus infection has lasting pulmonary sequelae in these children.

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