Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

When Technology Creates Uncertainty: Pulse Oximetry and Overdiagnosis of Hypoxaemia in Bronchiolitis

Authors: 
Quinonez RA, Coon ER, Schroeder AR, Moyer VA
Year: 
2017
Journal: 
British Medical Journal
Pub Med #: 
Abstract: 

Pulse oximetry drives overtreatment in children with bronchiolitis without improving clinical outcomes, argue Ricardo Quinonez and colleagues.

Key Messages

  • Bronchiolitis admissions have increased substantially over the past 30 years, without a concomitant change in disease severity or mortality
  • The increase in admission rates for bronchiolitis coincides with the increased widespread use of pulse oximetry in the 1980s
  • Hypoxaemia may be a main driver for decisions to admit children with bronchiolitis, evidence shows
  • Overdiagnosis of hypoxaemia may be at least partially responsible for increased admission rates of children with bronchiolitis, recent evidence shows
  • Lower thresholds for oxygen concentration to determine treatment may be associated with better outcomes such as decreased length of stay, with no demonstrated evidence of adverse outcomes