Introduction: Antibiotic use may shorten mechanical ventilation duration and length of stay for patients with bronchiolitis that require intubation. The goals of this study were to describe antibiotic use in previously healthy children with bronchiolitis admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for noninvasive respiratory support and to describe associations of early antibiotic use with clinical outcomes. Methods: The Pediatric Health Information Systems database was queried for children <2 years of age without significant comorbidities admitted to the ICU for bronchiolitis. Children requiring mechanical ventilation on the first ICU day were excluded. Two groups were analyzed: those patients receiving antibiotics on the first day of their ICU stay (early antibiotics), and those receiving no antibiotics on their first ICU day (no antibiotics). Primary outcome was the length of ICU stay. Results: A total of 11,029 admissions met criteria, 2522 (22.9%) in the early antibiotic group, and 8507 (77.1%) in the no antibiotic group. The use of early antibiotics varied by center from 10% to 54%. In multivariate analysis, the early antibiotic group had similar ICU length of stay compared to the no antibiotic group (relative risk, RR [95% confidence interval, CI] 1.01 [0.98–1.05]). For patients on noninvasive ventilation, the first ICU day early antibiotics did not impact ICU length of stay (RR [95% CI] 0.97 [0.92–1.02]) or need for intubation (RR [95% CI] 1.11 [0.77–1.58]). Conclusion: Early antibiotic use was common with significant variation between centers. Early antibiotic use was not associated with improved clinical outcomes in children admitted to the ICU for noninvasive respiratory support for bronchiolitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-810
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • RSV
  • antibiotics
  • bronchiolitis
  • mechanical ventilation
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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