Predicting Escalated Care in Infants With Bronchiolitis

Pediatrics. 2018 Sep;142(3):e20174253. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4253. Epub 2018 Aug 20.


Background and objectives: Early risk stratification of infants with bronchiolitis receiving airway support is critical for focusing appropriate therapies, yet the tools to risk categorize this subpopulation do not exist. Our objective was to identify predictors of "escalated care" in bronchiolitis. We hypothesized there would be a significant association between escalated care and predictors in the emergency department. We subsequently developed a risk score for escalated care.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of previously healthy infants aged <12 months with bronchiolitis. Our primary outcome was escalated care (ie, hospitalization with high-flow nasal cannula, noninvasive or invasive ventilation, or intensive care admission). The predictors evaluated were age, prematurity, day of illness, poor feeding, dehydration, apnea, nasal flaring and/or grunting, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and retractions.

Results: Of 2722 patients, 261 (9.6%) received escalated care. Multivariable predictors of escalated care were oxygen saturation <90% (odds ratio [OR]: 8.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 5.1-15.7]), nasal flaring and/or grunting (OR: 3.8 [95% CI 2.6-5.4]), apnea (OR: 3.0 [95% CI 1.9-4.8]), retractions (OR: 3.0 [95% CI 1.6-5.7]), age ≤2 months (OR: 2.1 [95% CI 1.5-3.0]), dehydration (OR 2.1 [95% CI 1.4-3.3]), and poor feeding (OR: 1.9 [95% CI 1.3-2.7]). One of 217 (0.5%) infants without predictors received escalated care. The risk score ranged from 0 to 14 points, with the estimated risk of escalated care from 0.46% (0 points) to 96.9% (14 points). The area under the curve was 85%.

Conclusions: We identified variables measured in the emergency department predictive of escalated care in bronchiolitis and derived a risk score to stratify risk of this outcome. This score may be used to aid management and disposition decisions.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis / diagnosis
  • Bronchiolitis / epidemiology*
  • Bronchiolitis / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / trends*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Internationality*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies