Objectives. To evaluate the efficacy of high-titer intravenous respiratory syncytial virus immune globulin (RSVIG) in the treatment of children at high risk for severe RSV infection who were hospitalized with proven RSV.

Methods. Infants and young children younger than 2 years with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, or prematurity (<32 weeks' gestational age), hospitalized with a history of lower respiratory tract infection (LRI) of less than 4 days, were enrolled in this study. Patients were randomized in a blinded fashion to receive either 1500 mg/kg RSVIG or placebo in equal volumes. They were evaluated daily for safety and respiratory scores and for RSV nasal shedding.

Results. One hundred seven high-risk children were randomized—54 in the RSVIG group and 53 in the placebo group. Of these children, 51 in each group were considered evaluable. Children with pulmonary disease, congenital heart disease, or prematurity were equally distributed between the two treatment groups. However, two important differences were found in baseline variables between the two groups: there were more patients in the placebo group who had histories of previous LRI and there was a trend toward more severe disease at study entry in the RSVIG group. This was manifested by a higher entry respiratory score in the RSVIG group than in the placebo group (3.4 ± 0.2 vs 3.1 ± .01). A higher proportion of children in the RSVIG group (47%) than in the placebo group (28%) required intensive care at entry and mechanical ventilation at study entry (31% RSVIG-treated vs 18% placebo-treated patients). No significant difference was found between groups in the mean unadjusted duration of hospitalization (RSVIG group, 9.10 ± 1.18 days; control group, 8.17 ± 1.08 days). When the mean was adjusted for entry respiratory score, likewise, no difference was observed between each group (8.41 ± 0.97 vs 8.89 ± .99 days). The lack of efficacy observed in the study primary endpoint was observed in all diagnostic groups. No differences between the RSVIG and placebo groups were observed in the following secondary endpoints: duration of intensive care unit stay, duration of intensive care unit stay for RSV, mechanical ventilation, or supplemental oxygen. No significant differences in adverse events were reported in the RSVIG group (16 children) when compared with the control group (10 children).

Conclusion. RSVIG treatment was safe but not efficacious in the treatment of children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, congenital heart disease, or premature gestation who were hospitalized with RSV LRI.

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