Allergy Asthma Respir Dis.  2018 Jul;6(4):211-218. 10.4168/aard.2018.6.4.211.

Clinical characteristics of lower respiratory tract infection in low birth weight children

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Environmental Health Center, Korea University Anam Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Allergy Immunology Center, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


Lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) is one of the most common causes of hospitalization in the pediatric population. In this study, we investigated the clinical characteristics of LRTI, particularly in low birth weight children.
We reviewed medical records of children at ages 0–6 years with LRTI in Korea University Anam Hospital between January and December of 2014. Clinical data including age, sex, birth history, viral pathogens, blood test results, and clinical courses were collected.
In the 828 eligible cases, 617 (74.5%) were pneumonia and followed by bronchiolitis 180 (21.7%) and bronchitis 31 (3.7%). The median age of the subjects was 17 months (interquartile range [IQR], 7–28 months), the median gestational age was 39.0 weeks (IQR, 38.0–40.0 weeks) and the median birth weight was 3,200 g (IQR, 2,900–3,480 g). Sixty-four children (7.7%) were low birth weight (< 2,500 g) and their median gestational age and birth weight were 33.0 weeks (IQR, 30.0–36.0 weeks) and 2,045 g (IQR, 1,565–2,300 g), respectively. The rates of oxygen supplement (17.2% vs. 4.6%, P < 0.001) and systemic steroid use (20.3% vs. 4.7%, P < 0.001) were significantly higher in low birth weight children than normal birth weight children. Respiratory viruses were identified in 82.6% (519 of 628 subjects); RSV was detected in 240 subjects (38.2%), followed by rhinovirus 168 (26.8%) and adenoviruses 75 (11.9%). The distribution of respiratory viruses was not different between normal birth weight children and low birth weight children.
Low birth weight children show more severe clinical manifestations than normal birth weight children during hospitalization for LRTI, although respiratory viral pathogens were not different. Clinicians should be aware that the severity may be increased when low birth weight children were hospitalized due to low respiratory tract infection.


Lower respiratory tract infection; Low birth weight; Respiratory virus
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