(HealthDay News) – Home oxygen (O2) is a safe and effective way to decrease hospital admissions in select pediatric patients with bronchiolitis, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in Pediatrics.

Sarah Halstead, MD, of the University of Colorado Denver, and colleagues reviewed charts of pediatric patients (aged 1–18 months) with bronchiolitis who presented to a children’s hospital pediatric emergency department (altitude, 1,600 m) between 2005 and 2009. Patients requiring baseline O2 were excluded. The percentage of patients discharged on O2 and their readmission rates were calculated, and adverse outcomes were recorded.

The researchers found that, of 4,194 illnesses, 57% were discharged on room air, 15% were discharged on O2, and 28% were admitted. Of those discharged on room air, 4% were subsequently admitted, compared with 6% of those discharged on O2. For those patients discharged on O2, no intensive care unit admissions were necessary and there was no need for advanced airway management. There was a decrease in the overall admission rates for bronchiolitis from a rate of 40% to 31%.

“Home O2 is an effective way to decrease hospital admissions in a select group of patients with bronchiolitis,” the authors write.

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