Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prophylaxis in Immunocompromised Children Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Background: Immunocompromised children are at increased risk for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection with associated morbidity and mortality. Prophylaxis is usually provided to these children on a case-by-case basis. Methods: Immunocompromised children who received ≥1 injection of palivizumab were prospectively enrolled across 32 Canadian sites, between 2005 and 2017, during the RSV season. We assessed respiratory illness hospitalization (RIH) and RSV-related hospitalization (RSVH) hazard ratios (HRs) in immunocompromised children versus infants’ prophylaxed for standard indications (SI: prematurity ≤35 weeks’ gestation, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and congenital heart disease) and complex medical disorders (CMD). Data were analyzed using t-tests, χ2 and Cox proportional hazards adjusted for confounders. Results: A total of 25,003 infants were recruited; 214 immunocompromised, 4283 CMD, 20,506 SI. On average, children received 4.4 ± 1.3 injections. A total of 16,231 children were perfectly adherent (58.4% immunodeficiency, 68.9% CMD, 64.2% SI; P < 0.0005). A higher proportion of immunocompromised children were aboriginal and exposed to smoking compared with CMD and SI. Immunocompromised children also had a higher median; gestational and enrollment age and birth weight compared with CMD and SI. Immunodeficient children had a higher RIH risk compared with SI (HR = 2.4, 95% confidence interval, 1.3–4.7, P = 0.009) but were similar to CMD (HR = 1.7, 95% confidence interval, 0.9–3.4, P = 0.118). RSVH in prophylaxed, immunocompromised children was similar to CMD (HR < 0.005, P = 0.955) and SI (HR < 0.005, P = 0.953). Conclusions: Immunocompromised children who received palivizumab had an increased RIH hazard compared with the SI group. Similar RSVH hazard between the 3 groups suggests that immunocompromised children may benefit from palivizumab during the RSV season.


  • Paes, Bosco
  • Saleem, Mahwesh
  • Li, Abby
  • Lanctôt, Krista L
  • Mitchell, Ian

publication date

  • June 2020

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