Background: Bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus is one of the major causes of hospitalization in young children, especially during the winter. Recent evidence has shown that pharmacological treatment, especially nebulized epinephrine, in addition to the traditional supportive treatment, can alleviate symptoms and shorten hospitalization, but this approach is not yet widespread.
Objectives: To determine whether the management of bronchiolitis in Israel is moving toward a stronger emphasis on pharmacological care.
Methods: A questionnaire on the diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis was completed by 27 heads of pediatric departments throughout Israel. The questionnaire dealt with the frequency of usage of diagnostic and selected therapeutic procedures.
Results: Chest X-ray and arterial blood gases are commonly used as a diagnostic aid in more than 75% of the departments, and antibiotics are prescribed routinely in 24%. Corticosteroids are still in use: 48% use systemic steroids, and 19% nebulized steroids. Nebulized epinephrine is used in 22% of the departments, while nebulized beta-agonists are used frequently in two-thirds of the departments.
Conclusions: Despite convincing data that beta-agonists and steroids have no positive effect on the outcome of bronchiolitis on the one hand, and that nebulized epinephrine has advantages in children on the other, we found significant use of the former two agents and sparse use of the latter. Greater awareness is needed among pediatricians, and measures should be introduced to incorporate the new recommendations, with further study of the effect of the old and new drugs on bronchiolitis.