Marked Increase in Pediatric RSV Hospitalizations Seen Postpandemic

Additionally, there have been higher advanced respiratory support needs in older children with fewer comorbidities than prepandemic
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, June 18, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital volumes for pediatric respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) rose significantly following the pandemic, along with the need for advanced respiratory support in older children with fewer comorbidities, according to a study published online June 13 in JAMA Network Open.

Zachary A. Winthrop, M.D., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues analyzed demographics, respiratory support modes, and clinical outcomes of children with RSV infections at tertiary pediatric hospitals (2017 to 2023) using data from 288,816 children aged 5 years and younger treated for RSV at 48 freestanding U.S. children’s hospitals registered in the Pediatric Health Information System.

The researchers found that RSV hospital presentations increased from 39,698 before the COVID-19 pandemic to 94,347 after the pandemic, which was accompanied by an 86.7 percent increase in hospitalizations (50,619 versus 27,114). Compared with prepandemic, in 2022 to 2023, children were older (median age, 11.3 versus 6.8 months) and had fewer comorbidities (17.6 versus 21.8 percent). In 2022 to 2023, there was a 70.1 percent increase in advanced respiratory support (9,094 versus 5,340). 

"Although these trends need to be evaluated in subsequent years, this study highlights possible epidemiologic shifts and trends in respiratory support use that may help inform guidelines and expanded age considerations for new RSV vaccines as they become more widely available," the authors write.

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