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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2009 Oct;25(10):636-41.

Factors associated with longer emergency department length of stay for children with bronchiolitis : a prospective multicenter study.

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Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS) is a quality of care measure and, when prolonged, contributes to ED crowding. Bronchiolitis, a common seasonal illness of infants, provides an opportunity to examine factors affecting ED LOS.


We analyzed data from a 30-center prospective cohort study of ED patients younger than 2 years with an attending physician diagnosis of bronchiolitis to determine what factors affect LOS. Researchers conducted a structured interview and chart review.


Among 1459 children enrolled, ED LOS was available for 1416 children (97%). The median ED LOS was 3.3 hours (interquartile range, 2.3-4.8 hours). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that factors significantly (P < 0.05) associated with ED LOS were larger annual ED visit volume (reference, lowest tertile [< 44,134 visits], 44,134-62,420 [β = 0.74], and ≥ 62,421 [β = 0.63]), Hispanic race/ethnicity (reference, white race, β = 1.43), lack of primary care provider (β = 1.28), duration of symptoms of 4 to 7 days (reference, < 1 day; β = 0.58), presentation of midnight to 7 AM (reference, 4:00-11:59 PM; β = 1.07), decreasing lowest oxygen saturation in ED (β = 0.07), fewer number of A-agonists during the first hour (β = 0.74), unknown oral intake (reference, adequate; β = 0.69), performance of chest x-ray (β = 0.62), and hospital admission (β = 1.11).


In this prospective multicenter study of children younger than 2 years with bronchiolitis, multiple factors were associated with longer ED LOS. These factors suggest the following steps to help shorten ED LOS: optimizing translation services, improving primary care provider rates, enhancing overnight patient flow, forgoing chest x-rays, and developing evidence-based admission criteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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