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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Here are the lastest recommendations for RSV kids

Thanks to, I've managed to come up with the latest guidelines on bronchiolitis and RSV as written by National Guidelines Clearinghouse at and based on all the latest scientific research and studies.

These are not new to us RTs in the RT cave, but this is the first time I've actually been able to find all this information in one place. I guarantee you I will leave this lying around the hospital for everyone to read. Perhaps I can enlighten some people.

I would love it if our pediatricians would read this latest research and opt to change their guidelines, however I will not get my hopes up. Doctors at Shoreline, and those of other small town hospitals in this region, prefer to work with antediluvian research.

First and foremost, RSV SWABS are not recommended. I mention this in bold because we RTs have to do RSV swabs at Shoreline. Do other RT departments get stuck with this job? I have no clue.

Likewise, chest x-rays, cultures, capillary or arterial gases, rapid influenza or other viral studies are not recommended because "these studies are not generally helpful and may result in increased rates of unecessary admission, further testing, and unecessary therapies."

Likewise, chest physiotherapy and cool mist therapy (mist tents) are also not recommended "as they have not been found to be helpful."

Oxygen on these children, according to up to date studies, is only recommended if the SpO2 is "consistently less than 91%," and oxygen should be weaned when the SpO2 is "consistently higher than 94%."

This is what I tried to point out to an ER RN yesterday and she tried to debate me that I was wrong. I was not wrong. However, to give her credit, our policy is to place and keep all kids who are unable to maintain an SpO2 under 95% on oxygen.

And, surprise, that means they get admitted.

Here is the part of the protocol that might just cause some doctors to completely reject these new guidelines, because it's just not possible that Ventolin would have no effect on lungs that sound that bad.

But, the new recommendations regarding Albuterol is that it "not be routinely used" for the treatment of RSV and bronchiolitis. I must note here that I did not add the emphasis.

Look, as we RTs have been saying all along, we have no problem trying a breathing treatment. And these guidelines recommend trying one. But, if there are no observable changes noted as a result, then this therapy should be discontinued.

If a child is suspected of having asthma, or is at high risk of asthma, then lets place the child on prn breathing treatments, and give them as indicated, rather than just because.

Note the following: "Although in some cases bronchiolitis may be a prelude to asthma, in the majority of cases the use of inhalation therapies and other treatments effective for treating bronchospasm charicteristic in asthma will not be efficacious for treating airway edema typical of bronchiolitis."

Take that and smoke it in your peace pipe.

Keep in mind, however, that studies have shown Vaponepherine (Racemic Epinepherine) to have a beneficial effect on some RSV kids. So this provides another option for doctors to trial on these children, and discontinue if it has no observable benefit.

What is highly recommended is suctioning. And, to our surprise, our pediatricians listened to us when we recommended this a couple years back, and now we even have booger be gones.

This only makes sense, considering RSV involves secretions in the airway, mostly from sinus drainage caused by a virus isolated (in 75% of the cases) in the middle ear.

Secretions is what causes the SpO2 to drop in some kids, not bronchospasm. And that is why it is recommended to suction before feedings, as needed and prior to breathing treatments if they are indicated.

These guidlines are so impressive to me I almost wonder if they were written by a respiratory therapist.

The following was noted regarding suctioning:

"Suctioning itself may improve respiratory status such that inhalation therapy is not necessary... Suctioning may improve the delivery of the inhalation therapy" if the treatment is given.

I can't believe I'm actually reading this. This is incredible. We RTs have known this for years, and when doctors find this out, well, they'll probably chant something like, "Well, everybody has their opinion."

Setting up continuous pulse oximeters on children under one-years-old is pretty much standard practice around here. However, new research shows that the use of "continuous oximetry measurement has been associated with increased length of stay of 1.6 days."

And, therefore, it is recommended that the child's SATs be checked occasionally, but not continuously because some doctors use it as the sole criteria for admitting children and for keeping them in the hospital "one more day."

There you have it folks. That's the up to date state of the art recommendations by the worlds top pediatricians of the nations top children's hospitals. But, they must have it wrong, because that's not how we do things at this hospital.

1 comment:

Djanvk said...

Great find, I'm definitly printing that one our for my department.

And yes I worked at a place where we did the RSV swabs, and another where we did the nasal wash and suction to test. Poor kids.