Antibiotic Treatment in Patients with Bronchiolitis

  • August Wrotek
  • Małgorzata Czajkowska
  • Teresa JackowskaEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1211)


This study seeks to define the indications and the economic impact of the use of antibiotics in infants hospitalized due to bronchiolitis during 2010–2017. There were 459 children with bronchiolitis, median age of 2.2 months, 390 infections with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and 69 were non-RSV. Twenty two percent of all these children (102/459) required a workup toward urinary tract co-infections (UTI). A control group, consisting of 8,456 children without bronchiolitis, was created to assess UTI frequency in the general population. We found that 16.0% (73/459) children with bronchiolitis received antibiotics; 63 (13.7%) due to respiratory infection and 9 due to UTI. A time-trend analysis showed a decreasing use of antibiotics, from 57.0% in 2010 to 13.7% in 2017, with the lowest value of 6.4% noticed in 2014. Children treated with antibiotics required a 4-day longer hospitalization than those untreated (p < 0.01), but there were no other clinically relevant differences. After excluding the first 2 years with the highest antibiotic ordering, antibiotics, on average, were used in 9.8% of children with bronchiolitis. Frequency of UTI accompanying bronchiolitis was comparable to that in the control group (8.9% vs. 10.9%, respectively). Specificity of urine culture was 71%, with 100% sensitivity assumed, while the positive predicted value of only 41%. The unnecessary costs of urine cultures, if performed in each patient, would have been €2,236, and with additional laboratory tests in each case of a false positive result it would have reached €5,448. We conclude that antibiotics should be used for bronchiolitis only in justified cases, and their use should not exceed 10% of patients. Since UTI is no more frequent in bronchiolitis than in the general children’s population, urine cultures should not be performed routinely.


Antibiotics Bronchiolitis Children Infection Respiratory syncytial virus Urinary tract infection Urine culture 



This work was supported by CMKP grant 506-1-20-19-17.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study protocol was approved by an institutional Ethics Committee.

Informed Consent

This was a retrospective study; thus, the requirement of obtaining consent from individual participants was waived.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • August Wrotek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Małgorzata Czajkowska
    • 1
    • 2
  • Teresa Jackowska
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsCenter of Postgraduate Medical EducationWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsBielanski HospitalWarsawPoland

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