Reducing High-flow Nasal Cannula Overutilization in Viral Bronchiolitis

Shaila Siraj, Brandy Compton, Brittney Russell, Shawn Ralston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Heated high-flow nasal cannula (HHFNC) therapy for bronchiolitis has become increasingly prevalent without evidence that this therapy impacts patient outcomes. Lack of criteria for appropriate use may lead to overutilization, resulting in increased costs without patient benefit. Our primary aim was to decrease use of HHFNC in patients with bronchiolitis over one season. Methods: Patients with Bronchiolitis younger than 2 years of age admitted to the Hospital Medicine Service were included in this study. Using the model for improvement framework, we identified key drivers for HHFNC overuse and revised our bronchiolitis protocol to include low-flow nasal cannula trials before HHFNC initiation. We compared preintervention HHFNC utilization (December 2018-April 2019) with postintervention HFNC utilization (December 2019-March 2020). Results: One hundred ninety patients met inclusion criteria, 98 of them in the preintervention cohort and 92 in the postintervention cohort. Overall, the median age was 9 months and 65% of patients were male. Our HHFNC utilization rate decreased from 62% (61/98) to 43% (40/92) in the postintervention period. Our SPC analysis suggested special cause variation based on 7 points below the preintervention mean. Conclusions: This QI intervention implementing a specified low-flow nasal cannula trial before the initiation of HHFNC shows promise in reducing overall HHFNC use. Future studies should focus on clear initiation and discontinuation criteria for HHFNC use in bronchiolitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E420
JournalPediatric Quality and Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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