Am J Perinatol 2020; 37(S 02): S26-S30
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1714345
Review Article

Evidence on the Link between Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Early Life and Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases

Eugenio Baraldi
1  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
,
Luca Bonadies
1  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
,
Paolo Manzoni
2  Department of Maternal-Infant Medicine, University Hospital “Degli Infermi,” Ponderano, Biella, Italy
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

There is growing evidence in medical literature to support an association between early-life respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract-lower respiratory tract infection (RSV-LRTI) and recurrent wheezing/asthma-like symptoms. It has been estimated that children with a history of RSV-LRTI have a 2- to 12-fold higher risk of developing asthma. The connection between RSV infection and a developmental trajectory of reduced lung function remains throughout adolescence and early adulthood, suggesting a possible role for RSV even in the inception of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That is why the postnatal period appears to offer a specific window of opportunity for early intervention to prevent chronic obstructive lung diseases. The mechanisms by which RSV contributes to the onset of wheezing/asthma and lung function impairment are not fully understood but appear to relate to injury caused directly by the virus and/or to pre-existing predisposing factors. While awaiting a deeper understanding of the association between RSV and chronic lung diseases, the crucial role of pediatricians and physicians is to develop strategies to prevent RSV infections to try and protect children's lifelong respiratory health.

Key Points

  • Several evidence suggest a link between RSV infection in early life and wheezing/asthma development.

  • RSV infection appears to have long term respiratory effects.

  • The prevention of RSV infections could reduce the incidence of chronic obstructive respiratory diseases.



Publication History

Publication Date:
09 August 2020 (online)

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