European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 170, Issue 7, pp 907–913

The impact of prophylaxis on paediatric intensive care unit admissions for RSV infection: a retrospective, single-centre study


  • Michelle L. Butt
    • School of NursingMcMaster University
  • Amanda Symington
    • McMaster Children’s Hospital
  • Marianne Janes
    • McMaster Children’s Hospital
  • LouAnn Elliott
    • McMaster Children’s Hospital
  • Susan Steele
    • Department of Pediatrics (Room 3A)McMaster University
    • Department of Pediatrics (Room 3A)McMaster University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00431-010-1376-3

Cite this article as:
Butt, M.L., Symington, A., Janes, M. et al. Eur J Pediatr (2011) 170: 907. doi:10.1007/s00431-010-1376-3


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections and hospitalizations in children aged <2 years. The aim of this retrospective, single-centre study was to examine the characteristics of patients admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with RSV infection following the implementation of a RSV prophylaxis programme. Electronic hospital medical records of all PICU admissions for RSV infection were searched from 2003 to 2009. Data on baseline demographics, underlying disease, criteria for hospitalization, respiratory diagnosis and management, complications and palivizumab prophylaxis were collected. A total of 181 patients were admitted with RSV infection, accounting for 5.7% of all admissions. Eighty-four percent were ≤2 years of age. Majority (70.2%) had no underlying medical illness, and 79.6% received antibiotics as part of their medical treatment. Comparison of children aged ≤2 years and those >2 years revealed that fewer of the younger cohort (20.4% versus 79.3%; p < 0.001) had an underlying medical condition. RSV infection occurred in 3.3% (n = 6) children who had received palivizumab prophylaxis, and there were two deaths. The results indicate that >88% of all PICU admissions would not qualify for RSV prophylaxis under our established guidelines and 66% of the children aged ≤2 years were >36 weeks gestation and are not currently targeted for prophylaxis. The number of high-risk infants admitted to PICU with RSV infection has likely plateaued, and further reductions in admission rates may only be realised with the use of universal, vaccine immunization programmes.


RSV PICU Admissions Prophylaxis

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010