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Arch Pediatr. 2012 Jun;19(6):635-41. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2012.03.018. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

[Nebulized hypertonic saline and acute viral bronchiolitis in infants: current aspects].

[Article in French]

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Unité de pneumologie et médecine infantile, CHU Timone-Enfants, 264, rue Saint-Pierre, 13385 Marseille cedex 5, France.


Acute viral bronchiolitis affects infants, is frequent, and can be severe. Its treatment is only based on symptoms. Hypertonic saline (HS) may act favorably in this situation by fighting virus-induced dehydration of the airway liquid surface. Because of an osmotic action, HS attracts the water from the epithelial cells and improves mucociliary clearance. Five double-blind placebo-controlled studies concerning hospitalized infants with acute viral bronchiolitis showed that repeated nebulizations of 3% HS induce a 20% improvement in the clinical severity score and reduced the hospital length of stay by 24h. Tolerance is excellent. On the other hand, a few questions remain unresolved: what is the optimal salt concentration? What is the recommended nebulizer? What is the best frequency for nebulizer use? Can nebulized HS be used at home? What are the results with systematic physiotherapy when HS is used?

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