Bronchiolitis phenotypes identified by latent class analysis may influence the occurrence of respiratory sequelae

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Pediatric Pulmonology, 8755-6863, 2021

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John Wiley and Sons Inc

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Background The heterogeneity of bronchiolitis may imply or reflect a different predisposition to respiratory sequelae. Objective Our aim was to investigate whether, among infants hospitalized with bronchiolitis, different clinical profiles extracted by latent class analysis (LCA) are associated with different risks of wheezing. Methods Over 15 consecutive epidemic seasons (2004–2019), we prospectively enrolled infants <1 year hospitalized for the first episode of bronchiolitis in a single tertiary hospital. A detailed clinical questionnaire was filled for each infant. LCA was applied to differentiate bronchiolitis phenotypes, and after hospital discharge, a phone interview was performed annually to record the presence of wheezing episodes. Adjusted multivariate regression analyses were run to investigate the risk of wheezing during 7 years follow-up according to clinical phenotypes. Results LCA performed on 1312 infants resulted in a three-class model. Profile 1 (65.5%): moderate bronchiolitis; Profile 2 (6.1%): severe bronchiolitis; and Profile 3(28.4%): bronchiolitis infants with high eosinophils blood count. At 1 year of follow up, about 50% of children presented wheezing in each profile. Compared to Profile 1, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) of having wheezing episodes was significantly higher in Profile 2 at 2, 3, and 4 years of follow-up. At 7 years, Profile 3 had an adjusted OR = 2.58, higher than Profile 2 (adjusted OR = 2.29). Conclusions LCA clearly identified a “moderate”, “severe,” and “high eosinophils blood count” bronchiolitis. During the first 4 years after bronchiolitis, the “severe” profile showed the higher risk of wheezing, but after 7 years this risk seems higher in the “high eosinophils blood count” group

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