Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection-associated Hospitalization Rates in Infants and Children With Cystic Fibrosis

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Abstract

Background:

Infections with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the leading cause for hospital admissions in infants and young children. The incidence of RSV-related hospitalizations in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is unclear. To date, no effective treatment for RSV infections is available. Thus, prophylaxis with the monoclonal antibody palivizumab is an important option.

Methods:

In a retrospective, single-center study at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine of the Medical University Graz, Austria, we analyzed all CF patients born between 1995 and 2012, who were admitted for respiratory problems between 1995 and 2014. We also defined a group of hypothetical RSV infections with the following criteria: admission caused by a respiratory infection during the first RSV season of life when no test for RSV was performed. Furthermore, we assessed the effectiveness of palivizumab as a prevention of RSV-related hospitalizations.

Results:

A total of 51 patients with CF were identified. The RSV-related hospitalization rate for the first RSV season was 0. Two patients (3.9%) were hospitalized 3 and 4 times, respectively, caused by RSV infections. The mean age at the time of admission was 12.4 ± 2.5 years. One case (1.9%) met our criteria for hypothetical RSV infections. There was no difference in RSV-related hospitalization rates between patients who received palivizumab and those who did not.

Conclusions:

We found a low rate of RSV-related hospitalizations and could not demonstrate a benefit of palivizumab prophylaxis regarding a decrease of RSV-related hospital admissions. The role of RSV reinfections in CF patients beyond infancy appears to be underestimated.

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