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High flow therapy versus hypertonic saline in bronchiolitis: randomised controlled trial
  1. Mercedes Bueno Campaña1,
  2. Jorge Olivares Ortiz1,
  3. Cristina Notario Muñoz1,
  4. Marta Rupérez Lucas1,
  5. Adelaida Fernández Rincón2,
  6. Olga Patiño Hernández1,
  7. Cristina Calvo Rey2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, Alcorcón, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Hospital Universitario Severo Ochoa, Leganes, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mercedes Bueno Campaña, Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, C/Budapest n°1, Alcorcón, Madrid 28922, Spain; mbueno{at}


Objective To demonstrate that heated humidified high-flow nasal cannula (HHHFNC) is superior to inhaled hypertonic saline solution (HSS) in improving respiratory distress in moderate bronchiolitis. In addition, it could improve comfort and reduce length of hospital stay (LOS) and admission to Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Design Randomised Clinical Trial from 1 October 2010 to 31 December 2012.

Setting Two urban secondary (no PICU available) paediatric hospitalisation units.

Patients Hospitalised children aged up to 6 months with moderate acute bronchiolitis (Respiratory Distress Assessment Instrument, RDAI ≥4).

Intervention Patients were randomised to HHHFNC or HSS. All of them received epinephrine as bronchodilator.

Main outcomes Primary outcome was difference in mean Respiratory Assessment Change Score (RACS) between both groups measured in six previously defined consecutive moments. Secondary outcomes were difference in mean comfort scores in this period, LOS and rate of PICU admission.

Results Seventy-five previously healthy patients were enrolled. Mean age was 2.4 months (95% CI 2.04 to 2.76). 43 were allocated to HSS group and 32 in HHHFNC. Data of 1 patient were lost, and 8 changed group over the study period. Intention-to-treat principle was applied. There were no significant differences in mean RACS and mean comfort scores between groups at the evaluation points. Median LOS or PICU admission rate were similar in both groups. No adverse events were observed.

Conclusions HHHFNC was not superior to HSS in treatment of moderate acute bronchiolitis with respect to severity and comfort scores, LOS or PICU admission rate.

Clinical Trial Registration Identifier NCT01873144.

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