COVID-19 in children with lung conditions

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal Open Research

Reports suggest that most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. However, it is not yet known whether children with long-term lung conditions experience more severe symptoms of the disease.

What did the study look at?

This study collected information from a survey that was circulated around lung health professionals working at different centres across Europe. 94 different centres reported on 945 cases of COVID-19 in children. The authors looked at the existing conditions the children had and the type of treatment they needed for COVID-19.

What do the results show?

Out of the 945 cases of COVID-19 in children, 105 had underlying health conditions.

  • 49 of the children had asthma. Out of these, 16 were treated at home and 33 were admitted to hospital. Five children out of the 33 hospitalised were admitted to an intensive care unit due to severe symptoms.  
  • 14 children had cystic fibrosis. 10 required no treatment and four had only minor COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Nine children had bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Two required no treatment, five required care in hospital and needed oxygen, and two were admitted to an intensive care unit and needed a ventilator.
  • 33 children had other conditions (including lung and heart conditions). 20 required extra oxygen and 11 needed a ventilator.

Why is this important?

Out of the 945 cases of COVID-19 reported in the survey, less than 10% of children had underlying lung conditions and only a few were admitted to the hospital or intensive care unit.

The low numbers of children requiring ventilation suggests that the majority of children, including those with lung conditions, do not experience severe symptoms of COVID-19.

However, this study found a small number of children with lung conditions did need support in hospital. This suggests that there are small groups of children that are at higher risk of severe symptoms and could benefit from shielding during this pandemic.

Read the original research paper

Title: COVID-19 in children with underlying chronic respiratory diseases: survey results from 174 centers