Study finds most infants receiving ICU-level care for RSV had no underlying medical conditions

Aug. 23, 2023
RSV accounts for about 57,000-80,000 hospitalizations in children younger than 5 years with 1 in 5 RSV-positive hospitalized children being admitted to intensive care units, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most infants admitted to the intensive care or high acuity unit for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections during fall 2022 were previously healthy and born at term, according to a new study reported in JAMA Network Open.

The findings from this study support the use of preventative interventions in all infants to protect them from RSV, the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) and hospitalizations worldwide.

Researchers across the United States evaluated the characteristics and outcomes of RSV-related critical illness in 600 infants from 39 hospitals across 27 states as part of the RSV Pediatric Intensive Care registry.

The registry conducted prospective surveillance during the RSV seasonal peak in 2022. During the two-month period, the investigators found:

  • The median age for infants requiring intensive care was 2.6 months.
  • 169 (28%) were premature.
  • 487 (81%) had no underlying medical conditions.
  • 143 (24%) received invasive mechanical ventilation.

The current study found that only 2 of 17 infants eligible for palivizumab received the treatment, which highlights administration barriers and emphasizes the need to ensure that all eligible patients receive therapeutic interventions in a timely manner. Since nirsevimab requires only one shot versus monthly shots, it is believed that uptake and compliance will be improved.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center release