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1.  Hypertonic saline (HS) for acute bronchiolitis: Systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2015;15:148.
Acute bronchiolitis is the commonest cause of hospitalisation in infancy. Currently management consists of supportive care and oxygen. A Cochrane review concluded that, “nebulised 3 % saline may significantly reduce the length of hospital stay”. We conducted a systematic review of controlled trials of nebulised hypertonic saline (HS) for infants hospitalised with primary acute bronchiolitis.
Searches to January 2015 involved: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials; Ovid MEDLINE; Embase; Google Scholar; Web of Science; and, a variety of trials registers. We hand searched Chest, Paediatrics and Journal of Paediatrics on 14 January 2015. Reference lists of eligible trial publications were checked. Randomised or quasi-randomised trials which compared HS versus either normal saline (+/− adjunct treatment) or no treatment were included. Eligible studies involved children less than 2 years old hospitalised due to the first episode of acute bronchiolitis. Two reviewers extracted data to calculate mean differences (MD) and 95 % Confidence Intervals (CIs) for length of hospital stay (LoS—primary outcome), Clinical Severity Score (CSS) and Serious Adverse Events (SAEs). Meta-analysis was undertaken using a fixed effect model, supplemented with additional sensitivity analyses. We investigated statistical heterogeneity using I2. Risk of bias, within and between studies, was assessed using the Cochrane tool, an outcome reporting bias checklist and a funnel plot.
Fifteen trials were included in the systematic review (n = 1922), HS reduced mean LoS by 0.36, (95 % CI 0.50 to 0.22) days, but with considerable heterogeneity (I2 = 78 %) and sensitivity to alternative analysis methods. A reduction in CSS was observed where assessed [n = 516; MD −1.36, CI −1.52, −1.20]. One trial reported one possible intervention related SAE, no other studies described intervention related SAEs.
There is disparity between the overall combined effect on LoS as compared with the negative results from the largest and most precise trials. Together with high levels of heterogeneity, this means that neither individual trials nor pooled estimates provide a firm evidence-base for routine use of HS in inpatient acute bronchiolitis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12890-015-0140-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4657365  PMID: 26597174
Bronchiolitis; Bronchodilator agents; Nebulizers and vaporizers; Randomized controlled trials as topic; Hypertonic saline; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
2.  Protocol for diaphragm pacing in patients with respiratory muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease (DiPALS): a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:74.
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a devastating illness which leads to muscle weakness and death, usually within 2-3 years of symptom onset. Respiratory insufficiency is a common cause of morbidity, particularly in later stages of MND and respiratory complications are the leading cause of mortality in MND patients. Non Invasive Ventilation (NIV) is the current standard therapy to manage respiratory insufficiency. Some MND patients however do not tolerate NIV due to a number of issues including mask interface problems and claustrophobia. In those that do tolerate NIV, eventually respiratory muscle weakness will progress to a point at which intermittent/overnight NIV is ineffective. The NeuRx RA/4 Diaphragm Pacing System was originally developed for patients with respiratory insufficiency and diaphragm paralysis secondary to stable high spinal cord injuries. The DiPALS study will assess the effect of diaphragm pacing (DP) when used to treat patients with MND and respiratory insufficiency.
108 patients will be recruited to the study at 5 sites in the UK. Patients will be randomised to either receive NIV (current standard care) or receive DP in addition to NIV. Study participants will be required to complete outcome measures at 5 follow up time points (2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months) plus an additional surgery and 1 week post operative visit for those in the DP group. 12 patients (and their carers) from the DP group will also be asked to complete 2 qualitative interviews.
The primary objective of this trial will be to evaluate the effect of Diaphragm Pacing (DP) on survival over the study duration in patients with MND with respiratory muscle weakness. The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (project number 09/55/33) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Henry Smith Charity. Trial Registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN53817913. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.
PMCID: PMC3462709  PMID: 22897892
3.  SABRE: a multicentre randomised control trial of nebulised hypertonic saline in infants hospitalised with acute bronchiolitis 
Thorax  2014;69(12):1105-1112.
Acute bronchiolitis is the commonest cause for hospitalisation in infancy. Supportive care remains the cornerstone of current management and no other therapy has been shown to influence the course of the disease. It has been suggested that adding nebulised hypertonic saline to usual care may shorten the duration of hospitalisation. To determine whether hypertonic saline does have beneficial effects we undertook an open, multi-centre parallel-group, pragmatic RCT in ten UK hospitals.
Infants admitted to hospital with a clinical diagnosis of acute bronchiolitis and requiring oxygen therapy were randomised to receive usual care alone or nebulised 3% hypertonic saline (HS) administered 6-hourly. Randomisation was within 4 h of admission. The primary outcome was time to being assessed as ‘fit’ for discharge with secondary outcomes including time to discharge, incidence of adverse events together with follow up to 28 days assessing patient centred health related outcomes.
A total of 317 infants were recruited to the study. 158 infants were randomised to HS (141 analysed) and 159 to standard care (149 analysed). There was no difference between the two arms in time to being declared fit for discharge (hazard ratio: 0−95, 95% CI: 0.75−1.20) nor to actual discharge (hazard ratio: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.76−1.23). There was no difference in adverse events. One infant in the HS group developed bradycardia with desaturation.
This study does not support the use of nebulised HS in the treatment of acute bronchiolitis over usual care with minimal handlings. registration number
PMCID: PMC4251206  PMID: 25389139
Paediatric Lung Disaese; Viral infection; Nebuliser therapy

Results 1-3 (3)