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Drugs. 1995 Jun;49(6):885-96.

Bronchiolitis. Origins and optimal management.

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Sheffield Children's Hospital, England.


There is currently no prospect of an end to the annual epidemics of acute bronchiolitis, which cause considerable morbidity in previously healthy infants and are a major threat to the well-being of infants with underlying cardiac, respiratory or immunological disease. The respiratory syncytial virus remains the major cause of this condition, and prospects of developing a vaccine remain bleak while our understanding of the viral-host interaction remain incomplete. Treatment of patients with this condition has remained essentially unchanged for more than 30 years. Correction of hypoxia with oxygen, minimal handling to reduce the risk of exhaustion and careful noninvasive monitoring for complications such as apnoea and respiratory failure are the mainstays of management. Mortality in at-risk groups has fallen substantially during the past 10 years. This appears to be due to improved supportive and intensive care. The role of the antiviral agent ribavirin in the improved outcome, if any, is unclear. Other novel therapies have been tried, but none have been shown to significantly alter the natural history of the condition. The only effective preventive intervention currently available is strict adherence to measures designed to prevent nosocomial infection. This condition is likely to remain a continuing challenge to paediatricians for the foreseeable future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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