Significant impact of recurrent respiratory tract infections in children with Down syndrome
E. de Vries, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, PO Box 90153, ‘s-Hertogenbosch 5200 ME, the Netherlands
Parents and health professionals believe that recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTI) have a large impact on children with Down syndrome (DS). We studied the relation between parent-reported RRTI and development, behaviour and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in 8-year-old children with DS.
During a 3-year period, 325 children with DS were recruited for inclusion in this observational study. Parents were asked to fill in the Child Behavior Checklist and TNO-AZL Children's Quality of Life Parent Form. A psychological assistant administrated the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. The children were divided into a group with presence of RRTI (RRTI +) and a group without RRTI (RRTI −), on the basis of parental report. Linear regression analyses were performed to assess the effect of RRTI, while correcting for the influence of confounders.
Compared with RRTI − children (n = 176), RRTI + children (n = 149, 46%) showed decreased mental and motor development (mean developmental age 3.67 vs. 4.08 years), more behavioural problems and lower scores on most HRQoL scales (P < 0.05). Moreover, school enrolment is less favourable in RRTI + children.
In 8-year-olds with DS, the children with parent-reported RRTI show more delayed development, more behavioural problems and lower HRQoL compared with the children without RRTI. Although this association does not prove a causal relationship, further studies should focus on this, because RRTI are potentially preventable.