Lung function in prematurely born infants after viral lower respiratory tract infections

Simon Broughton, Karl P Sylvester, Grenville Fox, Mark Zuckerman, Melvyn Smith, Anthony D Milner, Gerrard F Rafferty, Anne Greenough

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Chronic respiratory morbidity has been reported in prematurely born infants after respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs). The aim of this study was to determine the impact of viral LRTI on lung function at follow-up of prematurely born infants.

Methods: Fifty-nine infants born before 32 weeks of gestational age were prospectively followed after neonatal unit discharge. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were obtained when the infants developed LRTIs in hospital or the community. RSV was identified by immunofluorescence and/or culture. In addition, RSV and other viral infections were identified by real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. At a corrected age of 1 year, measurements of lung volume [functional residual capacity (FRC)pleth] and airway resistance (Raw) were made by plethysmography, and lung volume was also assessed by helium gas dilution (FRCHe). Before the measurements, parents completed diary cards for 1 month documenting on a daily basis whether their infant wheezed, coughed, or required bronchodilator therapy.

Results: Twenty-five infants had at least 1 proven RSV LRTI (RSV-positive group). The RSV-positive group compared with the rest of the cohort had similar lung volumes, but significantly higher Raw (P = 0.002), more days of wheeze (P < 0.001), and bronchodilator requirement (P = 0.027). Regression analysis also identified that hMPV LRTI was associated with elevated airways resistance at follow-up.

Conclusion: RSV and hMPV LRTIs in prematurely born infants are associated with abnormal lung function at follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019 - 1024
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections
  • Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections
  • Infant, Premature
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human
  • Metapneumovirus
  • Male
  • Female


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