Man blowing his nose laying on couch

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, often called RSV, is a common respiratory virus. Nearly all children will contract RSV by the time they’re two, 和 it affects about 65 million people every year. 

对大多数人来说, 呼吸道合胞病毒包括轻度, 冷若症状, 和 you’ll probably feel better in a week or two. 但对其他人来说, especially in high-risk groups like infants 和 older adults, RSV can be serious 和 can even lead to hospitalization. 

More severe cases of RSV can cause bronchiolitis 和 pneumonia. It can also escalate chronic health issues like asthma 和 充血性心力衰竭. Serious cases of RSV can also have serious implications on your heart health. The good news for older adults is that a new vaccine has been approved. (请继续阅读以了解更多细节.)

Diagnosing RSV 和 preventing its spread

Many people think of RSV as a seasonal illness that starts in the fall 和 peaks in winter. But COVID-19 disrupted some of its predictability in 2020, 和 experts are uncertain what to expect into the future.

It can be difficult to distinguish RSV from other seasonal respiratory illnesses, 比如流感和感冒, because they share many symptoms including coughing, 打喷嚏, 和拥堵. Your doctor can conduct special tests to determine the specifics of your illness.

If you’re an older patient with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or related risk factors, 和 you have respiratory symptoms, it’s important to visit your health care professional because you might have RSV. Your doctor can help you take steps to prevent the spread, manage your condition 和 watch for worsening CVD symptoms that could require hospitalization.


仅在美国, 高达160,000 adults are hospitalized every year for more serious cases of RSV. There’s a strong correlation between RSV 和 heart health in more serious cases of RSV. 

Around 14 to 22% of hospitalizations for adult patients are complicated by cardiovascular issues including worsening 充血性心力衰竭, 急性冠状动脉综合征 和 心律失常. Underlying cardiovascular disease has also been linked to 45 to 63% of adult hospitalizations for RSV. 


If you’re an older adult or an adult with chronic medical conditions, you may face an increased risk of severe RSV 和 cardiovascular complications. Some people who face the highest risk of RSV include:

  • 60岁以上成年人
  • Adults with weakened immune systems
  • Adults with chronic medical conditions like lung disease, cardiovascular diseases including 充血性心力衰竭 和 冠状动脉疾病, kidney disorders 和 neurologic conditions.


If you have RSV, you’ll probably show symptoms within four to six days of getting infected. 症状可能包括:

  • 流鼻涕
  • 食欲减退
  • 咳嗽
  • 打喷嚏
  • 发热
  • 喘息

These symptoms usually appear in stages 和 not all at once.


Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two, 和 antiviral medication isn’t usually recommended. But there are some things you can do to relieve symptoms.

喝足够的液体. Don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids. You’ll prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).

Stay on top of fever 和 pain with over-the-counter fever reducers 和 pain relievers, including acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Talk to your health care professional if your symptoms become severe. It's important to remember that RSV can cause severe illness in some people.


While most cases of RSV will remain mild, serious complications can occur. 这包括支气管炎, pneumonia 和 worsening conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 和 充血性心力衰竭.

Studies have shown that up to 22% of hospitalized adults experience cardiovascular complications, such as worsened 充血性心力衰竭, 新的心律失常和 中风

It’s important to underst和 the heightened risks you could face 和 the best way to protect yourselves 和 your loved ones, especially if you’re in a more vulnerable population.

RSV infections can be dangerous for certain adults. 每年, it is estimated that between 60,000-160,000 adults ages 65 和 older in the United States are hospitalized 和 6,000-10,000 of them die due to RSV infection. Adults at highest risk for severe RSV infection include:

  • Older adults, especially those 65 years 和 older
  • Adults with chronic heart or lung disease
  • Adults with weakened immune systems

What to know about RSV 和 your heart health

If you have a heart condition, it’s critical to pay special attention 和 see your health care professional for advice. Severe cases of RSV can be complicated by cardiovascular issues, which can lead to hospitalization 和 even death. 

Studies have shown that up to 63% of hospitalized adults with RSV have underlying cardiovascular disease. And 14-22% of adult patients hospitalized for RSV deal with cardiovascular complications including worsening 充血性心力衰竭, 急性冠状动脉综合征 和 心律失常. 

Researchers believe RSV primarily impacts cardiovascular health through the respiratory tract.

RSV has also been linked to myocardial damage. 它也可能导致 缺血 (an inadequate blood supply to the heart) 和 increased risk of 心房纤颤 (an irregular, fast heartbeat).


RSV has been associated with worsening cardiovascular conditions such as 心律失常, heart failure 和 心脏病, both in patients with 和 without known diagnoses of these conditions.

  • 心脏病发作和中风 – Patients face a higher risk of 心脏病 or 中风 immediately after contracting RSV. The highest risk is within three days of infection but remains heightened for up to 90 days.
  • 充血性心力衰竭 – Adults with CHF 和 RSV are more likely to require inpatient care. Researchers found patients with CHF had eight times the rate of hospitalizations than those without. And over 5% of all hospitalizations for CHF during RSV season are due to RSV infection. The news is worse for older adults. One study found that 20% of elderly patients who had been admitted due to RSV had a primary discharge diagnosis of CHF.
  • 冠状动脉疾病 – High rates of underlying CAD have been found in patients with RSV, though one study found that those patients were more likely to receive outpatient care than inpatient. 


When an adult gets RSV infection, they typically have mild 冷若症状, but some may develop a lung infection or pneumonia. RSV can sometimes also lead to worsening of serious conditions such as:

  • 哮喘
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a chronic disease of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe
  • 充血性心力衰竭 – when the heart can’t pump enough blood 和 oxygen through the body

Older adults who get very sick from RSV may need to be hospitalized. 有些甚至会死亡. Older adults are at greater risk than young adults for serious complications from RSV because our immune systems weaken when we are older.


There are some simple steps you can take to stay healthy 和 avoid RSV.

洗手. Use soaps 和 water or an alcohol-based h和 sanitizer.

Don’t touch your face with unwashed h和s. 这就是我们传播细菌的方式.

远离生病的人. Don’t kiss or share cups or eating utensils with friends or family if they have 冷若症状. 

Cover your coughs 和 sneezes. 需要咳嗽或打喷嚏? Be sure 和 cover your mouth 和 nose with a tissue or your shirt sleeve. Of course, toss your tissue in the trash.

干净,干净,干净! Make a mental note to clean 和 disinfect surfaces 和 objects that people frequently touch, 包括玩具, 门把手和移动设备. Do this 和 you’ll help ditch the germs.

感到恶心? 呆在家里. You don’t want others to catch the illness. Protect those around you by avoiding work, school 和 public areas. 

感到恶心? 读了 该做什么和不该做什么 to help you get better 和 protect others when you have a virus.


Two new vaccines were recently approved by the Food 和 Drug Administration 和 recommended for adults over 60 by the Centers for Disease Control 和 Prevention. They are currently available at many retail pharmacies. 

Research shows one shot could reduce the risk of symptomatic illness by 83% 和 of severe illness by 94%. It’s especially important for older patients with cardiopulmonary issues to get the vaccine.

If you have questions about the RSV vaccine, talk to your health care professional.


仅在美国, 高达160,000 adults are hospitalized every year for more serious cases of RSV. Underlying cardiovascular disease has also been linked to 45 to 63% of adult hospitalizations for RSV.