Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Guideline Changes
What is often described as the common cold can be life threatening for small premature babies. Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV may only cause a slight cough, watery nasal congestion, and mild fever in older children or adults. In babies that were born very prematurely, RSV causes many more problems. These babies are often sick for weeks, may wheeze for months or years, and can go on to develop chronic lung disease. Many cannot get enough oxygen and must be admitted to the hospital, sometimes even for a week or longer. The sickest of these babies may need to be placed on a breathing machine or heart lung bypass. Some babies with RSV die.
For many years there has been an effective way to significantly decrease the risk of children who were born prematurely becoming sick with RSV. A prophylaxis therapy that is given monthly during the RSV season to babies who were born prematurely has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with evidence-based guidelines about which babies have been shown to benefit from receiving this medication. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published new RSV guidelines that significantly limit the recommendations about which babies should receive the medication.
The National Perinatal Association RSV Guidelines supports the FDA-approved indications for this medication and recommend the medication be available for all preterm babies at risk for RSV who have been shown to benefit from its use. Currently the NPA is working on several initiatives to address this issue, including the follow: