Infants hospitalized for RSV infections were more likely to develop recurrent wheezing at age 5 than children without an RSV infection, according to a study published online on June 19, 2013, in BMC Pediatrics.
The retrospective cohort study included 72,602 children enrolled in an integrated health care delivery system in Northern California, born at or after 32 weeks’ gestation from 1996 through 2004. Children were followed from birth until age 5 years, and researchers collected data on RSV infections during the first year of life, prematurity, and supplemental oxygen use after birth.
Overall rates for wheezing were 5.6% at age 2 and 4.7% at age 5. Among children who had been hospitalized with RSV during the first year of life, 12.5% had developed recurrent wheezing at age 5. Children with severe cases of RSV had the greatest risk of wheezing. When compared with children without RSV infections, children who experienced a prolonged hospitalization due to RSV were 2.59 times more likely to suffer from wheezing, while those who had an RSV infection but were not hospitalized were 1.38 times more likely to suffer from wheezing. Children born prematurely and those with bronchopulmonary dysplasia were also at increased risk for developing wheezing at age 5.