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Nebulised hypertonic saline reduced the severity of illness in infants with bronchiolitis

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In infants with bronchiolitis, does administering nebulised hypertonic (3%) saline improve health outcomes?

Review scope

Studies were selected that compared nebulised hypertonic (3%) saline with nebulised 0.9% saline (with or without bronchodilators). Patients had a first episode of bronchiolitis, aged <24 months, and were not intubated. Outcomes included length or stay or rate of admission, adverse events, clinical severity scores, duration of oxygen requirement and physiological measurements (oxygen saturations, heart rate, pulmonary function tests).

Review methods

Cochrane Airways Group Clinical Trials Register, Medline, OldMedline, Embase and LILACS (to 2007) were searched for randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCTs). No language restrictions were applied. Quality of studies was assessed by Jadad and Cochrane approaches. Four trials were included, three assessing inpatients and one in outpatients.

Main results

The four RCTs included 245 infants (189 inpatients, 65 outpatients). All had adequate allocation concealment and Jadad score 4/5. Meta-analysis showed that the 3% saline group had a shorter length of stay than the …

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  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.