Lancet. 2022 Jul 30;400(10349):392-406. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01016-9. Epub 2022 Jul 1.


Viral bronchiolitis is the most common cause of admission to hospital for infants in high-income countries. Respiratory syncytial virus accounts for 60-80% of bronchiolitis presentations. Bronchiolitis is diagnosed clinically without the need for viral testing. Management recommendations, based predominantly on high-quality evidence, advise clinicians to support hydration and oxygenation only. Evidence suggests no benefit with use of glucocorticoids or bronchodilators, with further evidence required to support use of hypertonic saline in bronchiolitis. Evidence is scarce in the intensive care unit. Evidence suggests use of high-flow therapy in bronchiolitis is limited to rescue therapy after failure of standard subnasal oxygen only in infants who are hypoxic and does not decrease rates of intensive care unit admission or intubation. Despite systematic reviews and international clinical practice guidelines promoting supportive rather than interventional therapy, universal de-implementation of interventional care in bronchiolitis has not occurred and remains a major challenge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis* / diagnosis
  • Bronchiolitis* / therapy
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral* / diagnosis
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Oxygen