Variability of Care in Infants with Severe Bronchiolitis: Less-Invasive Respiratory Management Leads to Similar Outcomes

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To compare the management of children with severe bronchiolitis requiring intensive care (based on duration of ventilatory support and duration of pediatric intensive care unit [PICU] stay) in 2 countries with differing pediatric transport and PICU organizations.

Study design

This was a prospective observational care study in 2 PICUs of tertiary care university hospitals, 1 in France and 1 in Canada. All children with bronchiolitis who required admission to the PICU between November 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, were included.


A total of 194 children were included. Baseline characteristics and illness severity were similar at the 2 sites. There was a significant difference between centers in the use of invasive ventilation (3% in France vs 26% in Canada; P < .0001). The number of investigations performed from admission to emergency department presentation and during the PICU stay was significantly higher in Canada for both chest radiographs and blood tests (P < .001). The use of antibiotics was significantly higher in Canada both before (60% vs 28%; P < .001) and during (72% vs 33%; P < .0001) the PICU stay. The duration of ventilatory support, median length of stay, and rate of PICU readmission were similar in the 2 centers.


Important differences in the management of children with severe bronchiolitis were observed during both prehospital transport and PICU treatment. Less invasive management resulted in similar outcomes with in fewer complications.

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