The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of frequently inhaled nebulized hypertonic saline (HS) in infants with moderate to severe bronchiolitis. One hundred and twenty-six infants were randomized to receive either nebulized 3% hypertonic saline (HS) or 0.9% normal saline (NS), but only 112 patients completed the whole study. Cough, wheezing, pulmonary physical signs, clinical severity scores and the hospital length of stay (LOS) were recorded. The wheezing remission time was 4.8 ± 1.0 days in the NS group and 3.6 ± 0.9 days in the HS group (p <0.01). The cough remission time was 5.5 ± 0.9 days in the NS group and 4.3 ± 0.7 days in the HS group (p <0.01). The moist crackles disappeared at 6.2 ± 0.7 days in the NS group and at 4.4 ± 0.9 days in the HS group (p <0.01). The clinical severity scores decreased more significantly in the HS group than in the NS group on each day within 96 h after enrolment (p <0.01). The LOS decreased from 6.4 ± 1.4 days in the NS group to 4.8 ± 1.2 days in the HS group (p <0.01). The treatment was well tolerated, with no adverse effects attributable to nebulized HS. The conclusions are that frequently inhaled HS relieved symptoms and signs faster than NS, and shortened LOS significantly for infants with moderate to severe bronchiolitis, without apparent adverse effects.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2011 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.