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Keywords:

  • bronchiolitis;
  • infant;
  • non-invasive positive pressure ventilation;
  • patient transport;
  • respiratory insufficiency

Aim:  Infants with viral bronchiolitis are often hospitalised with a proportion requiring respiratory support. The aim of this review was to examine the use of nasal prong continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as a management strategy for infants with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, who required stabilisation and transport to a tertiary centre.

Method:  A retrospective audit of infants with bronchiolitis requiring CPAP during transport between January 2003 and June 2007.

Results:  Nasal CPAP was initiated in 54 infants with 51 of these (34 ex-preterm, 17 term) subsequently continuing on CPAP during retrieval. Mean CPAP pressure was 7 cmH2O. Oxygenation improved between stabilisation and the end of retrieval (P < 0.01). During retrieval, there was no significant increase in transcutaneous CO2, no infant required endotracheal ventilation and no adverse events were noted. Five infants were intubated within the first 24 h of admission at the receiving hospital.

Conclusion:  This review demonstrated that use of nasal prong CPAP to transport infants with bronchiolitis was a safe management strategy in those with moderate to severe disease severity.