Nebulized hypertonic saline without adjunctive bronchodilators for children with bronchiolitis

Shawn Ralston, Vanessa Hill, Marissa Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The goal was to determine an adverse event rate for nebulized hypertonic saline solution administered without adjunctive bronchodilators for infants with bronchiolitis. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of the use of nebulized 3% saline for children <2 years of age who were hospitalized with the primary diagnosis of bronchiolitis at a single academic medical center. The medical records of study participants were analyzed for the use of nebulized 3% saline solution and any documented adverse events related to this therapy. Other clinical outcomes evaluated included respiratory distress scores, timing of the use of bronchodilators in relation to 3% saline solution, transfer to a higher level of care, and readmission within 72 hours after discharge. RESULTS: A total of 444 total doses of 3% saline solution were administered, with 377 doses (85%) being administered without adjunctive bronchodilators. Four adverse events occurred with these 377 doses, for a 1.0% adverse event rate (95% confidence interval: 0.3%-2.8%). Adverse events were generally mild. One episode of bronchospasm was documented, for a rate of 0.3% (95% confidence interval: <0.01%-1.6%). CONCLUSIONS: The use of 3% saline solution without adjunctive bronchodilators for inpatients with bronchiolitis had a low rate of adverse events in our center. Additional clinical trials of 3% saline solution in bronchiolitis should evaluate its effectiveness in the absence of adjunctive bronchodilators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e520-e525
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse effects
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Hypertonic saline solution
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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