Propose of review: Cumulative evidence suggest that early life bronchiolitis is a major risk factor for subsequent wheezing episodes and asthma. The purpose of this review is to present the recent findings and current perspectives regarding the interplay between bronchiolitis and long-term respiratory outcomes.
Recent findings: Recent studies have supported the long-recognized link between early life severe respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis and the physician diagnosis of asthma by school age, and this association appears to continue into early adulthood. Evidence is accumulating regarding the role of early life infection with human rhinovirus as an important antecedent for future asthma. Whether viral bronchiolitis is causal or an early manifestation of future asthma remains uncertain. Vitamin D status has emerged as a potential modifying factor for viral-induced wheeze and could potentially influence the development of asthma.
Summary: Viral bronchiolitis early in life is a major and potential long-term risk factor for subsequent wheezing and asthma. Whether the association between bronchiolitis and subsequent asthma is due to causality or a reflection of predisposition may be dependent on host factors and virus-specific effects.