Use of continuous positive airway pressure during stabilisation and retrieval of infants with suspected bronchiolitis

J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Dec;48(12):1071-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02468.x. Epub 2012 May 15.


Aim: Infants with viral bronchiolitis are often hospitalised with a proportion requiring respiratory support. The aim of this review was to examine the use of nasal prong continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as a management strategy for infants with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, who required stabilisation and transport to a tertiary centre.

Method: A retrospective audit of infants with bronchiolitis requiring CPAP during transport between January 2003 and June 2007.

Results: Nasal CPAP was initiated in 54 infants with 51 of these (34 ex-preterm, 17 term) subsequently continuing on CPAP during retrieval. Mean CPAP pressure was 7 cmH(2)O. Oxygenation improved between stabilisation and the end of retrieval (P < 0.01). During retrieval, there was no significant increase in transcutaneous CO(2), no infant required endotracheal ventilation and no adverse events were noted. Five infants were intubated within the first 24 h of admission at the receiving hospital.

Conclusion: This review demonstrated that use of nasal prong CPAP to transport infants with bronchiolitis was a safe management strategy in those with moderate to severe disease severity.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / therapy*
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transportation of Patients
  • Victoria