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Hosp Pediatr. 2017 Jul 31. pii: hpeds.2017-0002. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2017-0002. [Epub ahead of print]

Multicenter Observational Study of the Use of Nebulized Hypertonic Saline to Treat Children Hospitalized for Bronchiolitis From 2008 to 2014.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware;
Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, and.
Departments of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, and Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and.



Among children hospitalized for bronchiolitis, we examined temporal trends in the use of hypertonic saline (HTS) and the characteristics associated with receiving this treatment.


We conducted a secondary analysis of data from 2 large, multicenter prospective cohort studies that included young children hospitalized with bronchiolitis during 5 winter seasons (2008-2014). Our outcome was receipt of HTS any time during the preadmission visit or hospitalization. For comparison with the observed trends in HTS use, we conducted a PubMed literature review of studies evaluating HTS use for bronchiolitis. We classified publications according to their assessment of HTS efficacy (positive, negative, or neutral).


Among 2709 hospitalized children, 241 (8.9%) received HTS. There was marked variability in HTS use by site (0%-91%), with use more common among children admitted to the ICU than those treated on the ward (31% vs 15%). Over the study period, administration of HTS increased from 2% during the 2008-2009 season to 27% during the 2011-2012 season, but then it decreased to 11% during the 2013-2014 season. Before 2010, the number of PubMed HTS publications ranged from 0 to 3 articles per year, with all classified as either positive or neutral. The number of positive publications increased in 2010 (n = 5), whereas negative publications peaked in 2014 (n = 4).


Use of HTS in children hospitalized with bronchiolitis increased during the 2008 to 2012 winter seasons and then declined. These findings paralleled trends in the HTS literature, with positive articles encouraging HTS use in early years followed by a growing number of neutral and negative articles after 2012.

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