Risk factors for requiring intensive care among children admitted to ward with bronchiolitis

Acad Pediatr. 2015 Jan-Feb;15(1):77-81. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2014.06.008.


Objective: To examine risk factors for transfer of bronchiolitis patients from the ward to the intensive care unit (ICU) and/or initiation of critical care interventions.

Methods: We performed a 16-center, prospective cohort study of hospitalized children age <2 years with bronchiolitis. During the winters of 2007 to 2010, researchers collected clinical data and nasopharyngeal aspirates from study participants. The primary outcome was late intensive care use, defined as a transfer to the ICU and/or use of mechanical ventilation (regardless of location) after the child's first inpatient day.

Results: Among 2104 children hospitalized with bronchiolitis, 1762 (84%) were identified as initial ward patients, comprising the analysis cohort. The median age was 4 months (interquartile range, 2-9 months), and 1048 (59%) were boys. The most frequently detected pathogens were respiratory syncytial virus (72%) and rhinovirus (25%). After the first inpatient day, 47 (3%; 95% confidence interval, 2-4) were subsequently transferred to the ICU or required mechanical ventilation. In the multivariable logistic regression model predicting subsequent transfer to the ICU or mechanical ventilation use, the significant predictors were birth weight <5 pounds (odds ratio, 2.28; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-4.02; P = .004) and respiratory rate high of ≥ 70 breaths/min on the first inpatient day (odds ratio, 4.64; 95% confidence interval, 2.86-7.53; P < .001).

Conclusions: In this multicenter study of children hospitalized with bronchiolitis, low birth weight and tachypnea were significantly associated with subsequent transfer to the ICU and/or use of mechanical ventilation.

Keywords: bronchiolitis; hospitalization; intensive care unit; mechanical ventilation; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis / epidemiology
  • Bronchiolitis / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data
  • Picornaviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tachypnea / epidemiology