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BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common viral pathogen associated with acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs), with significant childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. Estimates reporting RSV-associated ALRI (RSV-ALRI) severity in children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are lacking, thus warranting the need to summarize the available data. We identified relevant studies to summarize the findings and conducted a meta-analysis of available data on RSV-associated ALRI hospitalizations in children aged <5 years, comparing those with underlying CHD to those without CHD. METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of existing relevant literature and identified studies reporting hospitalization of children aged <5 years with RSV-ALRI with underlying or no CHD. We summarized the data and conducted (where possible) a random-effects meta-analysis to compare the 2 groups. RESULTS: We included 18 studies that met our strict eligibility criteria. The risk of severe RSV-ALRI (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-2.8), the rate of hospitalization (incidence rate ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.9-4.1), and the case-fatality ratio (risk ratio [RR], 16.5; 95% CI, 13.7-19.8) associated with RSV-ALRI was higher among children with underlying CHD as compared to those without no CHD. The risk of admission to the intensive care unit (RR, 3.9; 95% CI, 3.4-4.5), need for supplemental oxygen therapy (RR, 3.4; 95% CI, .5-21.1), and need for mechanical ventilation (RR, 4.1; 95% CI, 2.1-8.0) was also higher among children with underlying CHD. CONCLUSION: This is the most detailed review to show more-severe RSV-ALRI among children aged <5 years with underlying CHD, especially hemodynamically significant underlying CHD, as compared those without CHD, supporting a need for improved RSV prophylactics and treatments that also have efficacy in children older than 1 year.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





S613 - S619


Respiratory syncytial virus, acute lower respiratory infections, congenital heart disease, Databases, Factual, Heart Defects, Congenital, Hospitalization, Humans, Incidence, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Odds Ratio, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Respiration, Artificial, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Respiratory Tract Infections, Risk Factors