UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Respiratory season is here

Keywords: Bronchiolitis, wheezing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/19/2014 by Jennifer Guyther, MD
Click here to contact Jennifer Guyther, MD

Now that respiratory season is upon us, we are faced with an increasing number of bronchiolitis children. The updated clinical practice guidelines for managing these kids were recently published and emphasize supportive care only.

Some of the key points:

-When clinicians diagnose bronchiolitis on the basis of history and physical examination, radiographic or laboratory studies should not be obtained routinely.

-Medications such as albuterol, nebulized epinephrine or steroids should not be administered routinely in children with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis.

-Nebulized hypertonic saline should not be administered to infants with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis in the emergency department

-Clinicians may choose not to administer supplemental oxygen if the oxyhemoglobin saturation exceeds 90% in infants and children with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis

-Clinicians may choose not to use continuous pulse oximetry for infants and children with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis.

Check out the full guidelines for the quality of evidence and rational behind these recommendations.

The bottom line is that not much really works, and we just need to support their respiratory effort and ensure hydration.


Ralston et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: The diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Bronchiolitis. Pediatrics 2014; 134: e1474-e1502.