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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2012, Article ID 646780, 8 pages
Review Article

Managing the Morbidity Associated with Respiratory Viral Infections in Children with Congenital Heart Disease

1Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, P.O. Box 850, Hershey, PA 17033, USA
2Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 24 December 2011

Academic Editor: Randall Fisher

Copyright © 2012 Joseph M. Geskey and Stephen E. Cyran. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are at risk for increased morbidity from viral lower respiratory tract infections because of anatomical cardiac lesions than can worsen an already compromised respiratory status. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains an important pathogen in contributing toward the morbidity in this population. Although the acute treatment of RSV largely remains supportive, the development of monoclonal antibodies, such as palivuzumab, has reduced the RSV-related hospitalization rate in children with CHD. This review highlights the specific cardiac complications of RSV infection, the acute treatment of bronchiolitis in patients with CHD, and the search for new therapies against RSV, including an effective vaccine, because of the high cost associated with immunoprophylaxis and its lack of reducing RSV-related mortality.