Prolonged Mechanical Support in Children With Severe Adenoviral Infections: A Case Series and Review of the Literature

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Adenovirus infections occur primarily in infants and children less than 5 years of age, accounting for 2% to 5% of respiratory illnesses in the pediatric population and 4% to 10% of childhood pneumonias. Although the majority of children with adenovirus disease develop mild upper respiratory tract disease, more severe disease may occur with involvement of the lower respiratory tract characterized by pneumonitis and/or small airways disease. The authors present a case series of 3 high-risk children with severe lower respiratory tract adenoviral infections. These cases demonstrate the potential for the development of severe respiratory involvement from adenovirus in infants and children with comorbid conditions and illustrate that there may be a rapid progression of the disease as well as the need, in selected circumstances, for prolonged mechanical support. We review the role of adenovirus in lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children, its potential to result in life-threatening complications in pediatric patients with comorbid conditions, and the potential life-saving role of mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal life support (ECLS) in these children.

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