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Pharmacotherapy. 1998 Jan-Feb;18(1):198-202.

Albuterol in acute bronchiolitis--continued therapy despite poor response?

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


To determine whether clinicians continue to treat acute bronchiolitis with nebulized albuterol despite lack of clinical improvement after such treatment, we reviewed the medical records of 90 randomly selected infants and children with the primary diagnosis of that disorder who were treated in this 232-bed tertiary care children's hospital. Clinical improvement and no clinical improvement were defined as improvement and lack of improvement, respectively, in air movement, wheezing, retractions, oxygen saturation, work of breathing, and respiratory rate after administration of nebulized albuterol. Response to nebulized albuterol was determined from explicit written documentation in the medical records. Of 68 children who received nebulized albuterol in the emergency department, 52% had written documentation indicating no clinical improvement; however, 94% had admission orders to continue the therapy. Within 12 hours after admission, 61% were again noted to have no clinical improvement with nebulized albuterol. Eighty-seven percent of nonresponders continued to receive albuterol throughout hospitalization, and 54% continued to receive it after discharge. Continuing therapy despite lack of response resulted in unnecessary medical expenses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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