Management and Prevention Strategies for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Bronchiolitis in Infants and Young Children: A Review of Evidence-Based Practice Interventions

Allison C. Cooper; Nancy Cantey Banasiak; Patricia Jackson Allen


Pediatr Nurs. 2003;29(6) 

In This Article

Risk Factors For Severe RSV Infection

Prematurely born infants represent the largest population at risk for severe complications of RSV infection. Premature infants have a 10-fold higher risk of RSV-related hospitalization than do full-term infants (Boyce et al., 2000). They are born before sufficient passage of maternal immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, resulting in inadequate immunity to prevent RSV infection during the early months of life. In addition, they have smaller airways, which can more easily become obstructed by edema and necrotic debris resulting in poor gas exchange and increased respiratory effort (Greenough, 2001). Premature infants have less energy reserve than full-term infants and, therefore, can progress to respiratory failure more quickly. Children with complicated congenital heart disease, underlying lung disease (e.g., bronchopulmonary dysplagia, chronic lung disease, and cystic fibrosis), or immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, congenital immunodeficiencies, and children with transplants) are also high risk for more severe RSV infection (Linzer & Guthrie, 2003).


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