Inhaled nebulized adrenaline improves lung function in infants with acute bronchiolitis

Respir Med. 2000 Jul;94(7):709-14. doi: 10.1053/rmed.2000.0807.


Beta2-agonists have questionable symptomatic effect in infants with acute bronchiolitis, whereas inhaled, nebulized racemic adrenaline, commonly used in Norway, appears (clinically) to be effective. Limited lung function observations during acute bronchiolitis exists, and less for assessing possible effects inhaled adrenaline. In this preliminary study, tidal flow-volume loops were measured in 16 infants with acute bronchiolitis and seven healthy controls (mean age 7.9 and 4.4 months, respectively), with repeated measurements 15 min after inhaled nebulized racemic adrenaline (4 mg diluted in 2 ml saline) in nine bronchiolitis patients. The ratio of time to reach peak tidal expiratory flow to total expiratory time (tPTEF/tE) was significantly reduced in children with acute bronchiolitis (mean, 95% CI) (0.08, 0.05-0.10) compared to controls (0.31, 0.18-0.43), with significant improvement after inhaled racemic adrenaline 0.19 (0.13-0.25), parallel with significant clinical improvement. Lung function (tPTEF/tE) was reduced in infants with acute bronchiolitis and improved significantly after inhaled racemic adrenaline. Inhaled racemic adrenaline is potentially an important alternative for treating infants with acute bronchiolitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenergic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchiolitis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchiolitis / physiopathology
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Racepinephrine*
  • Tidal Volume / drug effects


  • Adrenergic Agonists
  • Racepinephrine
  • Epinephrine