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Pediatrics. 2012 Sep;130(3):e492-500. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Prospective multicenter study of children with bronchiolitis requiring mechanical ventilation.

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



To identify factors associated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and/or intubation for children with bronchiolitis.


We performed a 16-center, prospective cohort study of hospitalized children aged <2 years with bronchiolitis. For 3 consecutive years from November 1 until March 31, beginning in 2007, researchers collected clinical data and a nasopharyngeal aspirate from study participants. We oversampled children from the ICU. Samples of nasopharyngeal aspirate were tested by polymerase chain reaction for 18 pathogens.


There were 161 children who required CPAP and/or intubation. The median age of the overall cohort was 4 months; 59% were male; 61% white, 24% black, and 36% Hispanic. In the multivariable model predicting CPAP/intubation, the significant factors were: age <2 months (odds ratio [OR] 4.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7-11.5), maternal smoking during pregnancy (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.1-1.9), birth weight <5 pounds (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.0-2.6), breathing difficulty began <1 day before admission (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.2-2.1), presence of apnea (OR 4.8; 95% CI 2.5-8.5), inadequate oral intake (OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.3-4.3), severe retractions (OR 11.1; 95% CI 2.4-33.0), and room air oxygen saturation <85% (OR 3.3; 95% CI 2.0-4.8). The optimism-corrected c-statistic for the final model was 0.80.


In this multicenter study of children hospitalized with bronchiolitis, we identified several demographic, historical, and clinical factors that predicted the use of CPAP and/or intubation, including children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. We also identified a novel subgroup of children who required mechanical respiratory support <1 day after respiratory symptoms began.

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