HealthDay News — High-flow oxygen therapy may be more effective than standard oxygen therapy in preventing care escalation among infants with bronchiolitis treated outside an intensive care unit, according to a study published in the March 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Donna Franklin, from Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues randomized infants (<12 months of age) who had bronchiolitis and a need for supplemental oxygen therapy to receive either high-flow oxygen therapy or standard oxygen therapy. The analysis included 1,472 patients. 

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The researchers found that 12% of infants in the high-flow group received escalation of care due to treatment failure versus 23% in the standard-therapy group. However, there were no significant differences in the duration of hospital stay or the duration of oxygen therapy. One case of pneumothorax occurred in each group (<1% of infants). Just under two-thirds (61%) of the 167 infants in the standard-therapy group who had treatment failure responded to high-flow rescue therapy.

“Among infants with bronchiolitis who were treated outside an intensive care unit, those who received high-flow oxygen therapy had significantly lower rates of escalation of care due to treatment failure than those in the group that received standard oxygen therapy,” the authors write.

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