Acute bronchiolitis in infancy is considered a risk factor for recurrent wheezing episodes in childhood. The present study assessed prevalence, clinical manifestations and risk factors for recurrent wheezing events during the first 3 years of life and persistent wheezing events beyond this age in children hospitalized as young infants with acute bronchiolitis.
Two groups of children aged 6 years were included. The study group comprised 150 children with a history of hospitalization for bronchiolitis, with the first event at <6 months of age. The control group comprised 66 age- and sex-matched children with no history of bronchiolitis before 6 months of age. Children in both groups had been followed until 6 years of age by their pediatricians; data were obtained retrospectively by reviewing ambulatory records during children¡¯s visits in pediatricians¡¯ clinics. The data included epidemiological parameters, prevalence, age at onset, number of and treatments given for episodes of wheezing events prior to 6 years of age, pathogens detected, and severity of acute bronchiolitis in the study group.
Overall, 58% and 27% of children in the study and control groups, respectively (P=0.001) had recurrent wheezing episodes prior to the age of 3 years. Children in the study group had earlier onset of recurrent wheezing, had more episodes of wheezing, and required more bronchodilator and systemic steroids treatments compared to the control group.
Hospitalization within the first six months of life for acute bronchiolitis is an independent risk factor for recurrent wheezing episodes during the first 3 years of life.
Key words: acute bronchiolitis; recurrent wheezing; young infants