Variability of Care of Infants with Severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus Bronchiolitis: A Multicenter Study

Gili Kadmon, Yael Feinstein, Isaac Lazar, Elhanan Nahum, Efraim Sadot, Dganit Adam, Gur Zamir, Gabriel Chodick, Ofer Schiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Viral bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common childhood disease accounting for many hospitalizations worldwide. Some infants may clinically deteriorate, requiring admission to an intensive care unit. We aimed to describe diagnostic and therapeutic measures of bronchiolitis in Israeli pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and evaluate intercenter variability of care. Methods: Medical records of all RSV-infected infants admitted to 5 Israeli PICUs over 4 RSV seasons were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Data on 276 infants with RSV-positive bronchiolitis, admitted to the participating PICUs were analyzed. Most of the infants were males with a mean admission age of 4.7 months. Approximately half of the infants had pre-existing conditions such as prematurity, cardiac disease or chronic lung disease. Respiratory distress was the most common symptom at presentation followed by hypoxemia and fever. There was significant variation in the methods used for RSV diagnosis, medical management and respiratory support of the infants. Furthermore, utilization of inhalational therapy and transfusion of blood products differed significantly between the centers. Although a bacterial pathogen was isolated in only 13.4% of the infants, 82.6% of the cohort was treated with antibiotics. Conclusions: Significant variation was found between the different PICUs regarding RSV bronchiolitis diagnosis, medical management and respiratory support, which may not be accounted for by the differences in baseline and clinical characteristics of the infants. Some of these differences may be explained by uneven resource allocations. This diversity and the documented routine use of medications with weak evidence of efficacy calls for national guidelines for bronchiolitis management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • bronchiolitis
  • mechanical ventilation
  • pediatric intensive care unit
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • variability of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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