Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an established cause of serious lower respiratory disease in children, but the burden in adults is less well studied.
We conducted a retrospective study of hospitalizations among adults ≥20 years from the 1997–2012 National Inpatient Sample. Trends in RSV admissions were described relative to unspecified viral pneumonia admissions. Hospitalization severity indicators were compared among immunocompromised RSV, non-immunocompromised RSV, and influenza admissions.
An estimated 28237 adult RSV hospitalizations occurred, compared with 652818 influenza hospitalizations; 34% were immunocompromised individuals. Respiratory syncytial virus and influenza patients had similar age, gender, and race distributions, but RSV was more often diagnosed in urban teaching hospitals (73.0% for RSV vs 34.6% for influenza) and large hospitals (71.9% vs 56.4%). Respiratory syncytial virus hospitalization rates increased from 1997 to 2012, particularly for those ≥60, increasing from 0.5 to 4.6 per 100000, whereas unspecified pneumonia admission rates decreased significantly ( P < .001). Immunocompromised patients with RSV hospitalization had significantly higher inpatient mortality ( P = .013), use of mechanical ventilation ( P = .016), mean length of stay (LOS) ( P < .001), and mean cost ( P < .001) than non-immunocompromised RSV hospitalizations. Overall, RSV hospitalizations were more severe than influenza hospitalizations (6.2% mortality for RSV vs 3.0% for influenza, 16.7% vs 7.2% mechanical ventilation, mean LOS of 6.0 vs 3.6 days, and mean cost of $38828 vs $14519).