Using a high-flow nasal cannula provided superior results to low-flow oxygen delivery in moderate to severe bronchiolitis

Gregorio P. Milani, Anna M. Plebani, Elisa Arturi, Danila Brusa, Susanna Esposito, Laura Dell'Era, Emanuela A. Laicini, Dario Consonni, Carlo Agostoni, Emilio F. Fossali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: An observational study was carried out on infants with moderate to severe bronchiolitis to compare the clinical outcomes following treatment with a high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) or standard low-flow oxygen. Methods: We enrolled subjects below 12 months of age who were affected by their first bronchiolitis episode. Non-formal randomisation, based on HFNC availability, was used to assign subjects to either the HFNC or standard oxygen groups. Respiratory rate, respiratory effort and the ability to feed were compared between the two groups at enrolment and at regular time points. The oxygen requirements and the length of hospital stay were also analysed. Results: Overall, 36 of the 40 enrolled infants completed the study: 18 treated with HFNC (mean age 3.2 months, range 1.2-5.4 months) and 18 with low-flow oxygen delivery (mean age 3.6 months, range 1.3-5.0 months). Improvements in the respiratory rate, respiratory effort and ability to feed were significantly faster in the HFNC group than the low-flow oxygen group. The HNFC group needed oxygen supplementation for two days less than the other group and hospital stays were three days shorter. Conclusion: HFNC provided superior clinical outcomes for infants under 12 months with moderate-to-severe bronchiolitis compared to low-flow oxygen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e368-e372
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Bronchiolitis
  • High-flow nasal cannula
  • Low-flow oxygen delivery
  • Non-invasive ventilation
  • Respiratory infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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