Background: The aims of this study were to observe the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalization rate and to identify the risk factors for hospitalization for RSV infection among infants in Korea born at <35 weeks of gestational age and who had not previously received palivizumab.
Methods: We conducted a study over a 2.5-year period (between April 2007 and September 2009) that included premature infants (<35 weeks of gestational age) who underwent follow-up during 1 year after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit. Demographic information was collected for each subject at baseline, and the reasons for hospitalization were obtained during the 1-year follow-up period.
Results: The study population included 1022 subjects who completed follow-up interviews. Eight hundred seventeen infants were included in analysis for RSV hospitalization. Excluded from the study were 167 subjects with chronic lung disease who had received palivizumab prophylaxis and 38 subjects who were not tested for RSV. The overall incidence of RSV hospitalization in the group that did not receive palivizumab was 4.5% (37 of 817 patients). Independent risk factors associated with RSV hospitalization were multiple gestation (P = 0.022) and longer duration of mechanical ventilation in the neonatal intensive care unit (P = 0.039).
Conclusion: This study showed the epidemiology and risk factors of RSV hospitalization in preterm infants in Korea. RSV infection was one of the main causes of hospitalization after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit in patients born at <35 weeks of gestational age.