To quantify the relationship between recurrent wheezing (RW) in the third year of life and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, prematurity, and neonatal oxygen exposure.
Retrospective cohort study linking inpatient, outpatient, and laboratory databases for cohort assembly and logistic regression analysis.
Integrated health care delivery system in Northern California.
A total of 71 102 children born from 1996 to 2002 at 32 weeks' gestational age or later who were health plan members for 9 or more months in their first and third years.
Laboratory-confirmed, medically attended RSV infection during first year and supplemental oxygen during birth hospitalization.
Recurrent wheezing, quantified through outpatient visits, inpatient hospital stays, and asthma prescriptions.
The rate of RW in the third year of life was 16.23% among premature infants with RSV and 6.22% among those without RSV. The risk of RW increased among infants who had an RSV outpatient encounter (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.07; 95% CI, 1.61-2.67), uncomplicated RSV hospitalization (AOR, 4.66; 95% CI, 3.55-6.12), or prolonged RSV hospitalization (AOR, 3.42; 95% CI, 2.01-5.82) compared with infants without RSV encounters. Gestational age of 34 to 36 weeks was associated with increased risk of RW (AOR, 1.23; 95% CI 1.07-1.41) compared with 38 to 40 weeks, while a gestational age of 41 weeks or more was protective (AOR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.81-0.99). Supplemental oxygen exposure was associated with increased risk at all levels.
Laboratory-confirmed, medically attended RSV infection, prematurity, and exposure to supplemental oxygen during the neonatal period have independent associations with the development of RW in the third year of life.