Neurological complications of respiratory syncytial virus infection: case series and review of literature

Millichap, J. J.; Wainwright, M. S.

J Child Neurol. 2009 Mar 7; 24(12):1499-503


Respiratory syncytial virus is a common cause of infection in children. The authors summarize the clinical and diagnostic features of 9 patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with neurological consultation. Patients were aged 5 weeks to 3 years. Four had seizures, 4 had cardiac arrest, and 1 had hypertonia. Results of brain magnetic resonance imaging in 5 patients was abnormal in 1. Cerebrospinal fluid in 4 patients showed elevated protein in 1. Serum sodium was low in 2 patients and normal in 7. Electroencephalograms in 8 patients were abnormal in 7. Increased risk of neurological complications of respiratory syncytial virus should be considered in any patient with documented infection requiring intensive care. Clinical manifestations may include seizures, encephalopathy, and abnormal neurological examination. The authors' data suggest that the electroencephalogram provides a sensitive method for detection of neurological insult in this group of patients.

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