By Maggie Kilgore and Javier Tejedor-Sojo
As we move into bronchiolitis season, we wanted to remind you all of the new recommendations for inpatient and outpatient bronchiolitis treatment published by the AAP in 2014. These new recommendations were incorporated into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s updated guidelines in the fall of 2014. Bronchiolitis is one of the top three admission diagnoses at Children’s. The 2014 Children’s guideline fosters patient-centered, value-based outcomes, more closely supports evidence-based therapies and interventions, and recommends that care providers deliver a consistent message to families.
Some of the key elements of the 2014 AAP guideline are that:
- Clinicians should diagnose bronchiolitis and assess disease severity on the basis of history and physical examination. Chest X-Rays or laboratory studies should not be obtained routinely
- Clinicians should not routinely administer albuterol or epinephrine to patients with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis
- Clinicians should not administer antibacterial medications to infants and children with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis unless there is a concomitant bacterial infection, or a strong suspicion of one
- In infants with bronchiolitis, clinicians may choose not to administer supplemental oxygen if the O2 saturation exceeds 90%
It can be difficult to explain to families that the best treatment for their child is supportive care. The evidence and the new recommendations support that supportive care is what patients benefit from the most. In regards to albuterol, current recommendations discouraging its use in bronchiolitis are derived from the 2010 Cochrane review which included 10 inpatient and 10 outpatient trials. There was no statistical difference in the rate of hospitalization, length of hospitalization, oximetry nor time to resolution of illness at home between albuterol and placebo treated children. Some brief improvement in clinical respiratory scores was noted among outpatient and hospitalized patients but the standard mean difference was very small and no impact on clinical care would be expected.
There may be a sub-group of children with an underlying predisposition to asthma who may exhibit a response to albuterol. These children are generally older (>12 months) and have either a previous history of wheezing or atopy or a strong family history of asthma in first degree relatives. In the bronchiolitis guideline, these children may receive a single trial of albuterol without other concurrent interventions to determine whether they exhibit a positive clinical response to it. If they indeed have a positive documented response to albuterol these children would be managed under the ED/Inpatient asthma pathway.
Families should be educated that bronchiolitis is a disease that may last for two to three weeks. Many parents present for care because they are concerned their child is not feeding as usual. During the acute illness it is common and expected that children will feed less than their baseline. We need to help parents understand that if their child can sustain their basic fluid needs (even if they take sometimes half of what they typically drink), they are not likely to get dehydrated. Patients who maintain saturations >90% on room air, are able to handle secretions, and can maintain acceptable hydration and activity can generally be treated at home with supportive therapy.
On October 1, 2014 Children’s implemented the guidelines in the ED, Urgent Care, and Inpatient Settings. During the Sept 2014—April 2015 season, we decreased albuterol usage in 1-12 month olds with bronchiolitis from 45% to 25% in the ED and from 40% to 11% for patients who were admitted. We were able to achieve these results without negatively impacting our length of stay or 7 day readmission rate. Reducing the use of therapies that have not demonstrated benefit to our patients and helping them return home sooner if medically stable, is an example of delivering value to them and their families.
If there are any questions about the guideline, feel free to contact :
Dr Shabnam Jain firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Tejedor-Sojo email@example.com
Please see the link below to the clinical guideline page on the physician portal for access to our guidelines, link to the AAP 2014 recommendations, and see Children’s full evidence summary that is posted on the physician portal: