Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been used in infants with bronchiolitis for decades. Recently, high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) therapy was introduced We conducted a retrospective study of treatment with CPAP vs. HFNC between 2013 and 2015, comparing the development in respiratory rate, fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) and heart rate, treatment failure, duration of treatment, and length of hospital stay. A sample size of 49 children were included. Median age was 1.9 months. Median baseline pCO2
was 7.4 kPa in both groups, respiratory rate per minute was 57 vs. 58 (CPAP vs. HFNC). Respiratory rate decreased faster in the CPAP group (p
< 0.05). FiO2 decreased in the CPAP group and increased in the HFNC group during the first 12 h, whereafter it decreased in both groups. (p
< 0.01). Heart rate development was similar in both groups. Twelve children (55%) changed systems from HFNC to CPAP due to disease progression. There was no difference in length of treatment, hospital stay, or transmission to intensive care unit between the groups. CPAP was more effective than HFNC in decreasing respiratory rate (RR) and FiO2. No differences were observed in length of treatment or complications. Further studies should be conducted to compare the efficacy of the two treatments of bronchiolitis, preferably through prospective randomized trials.
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