Randomized trial of salbutamol in acute bronchiolitis

Terry P. Klassen, Peter C. Rowe, Terry Sutcliffe, Leland J. Ropp, W. McDowell, Marllyn M. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


To test whether nebulized salbutamol (albuterol) is safe and efficacious for the treatment of young children with acute bronchiolitis, we enrolled 83 children (median age 6 months, range 1 to 21 months) in a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Participants received two treatments at 30-minute intervals of either nebulized salbutamol (0.10 mg/kg in 2 ml 0.9% saline solution) or a similar volume of 0.9% saline solution placebo. Outcome measures were the respiratory rate, pulse oximetry, and a clinical score based on the degree of wheezing and retractions. Patients in the salbutamol arm had significantly greater improvement in clinical scores after the initial treatment (p=0.04). There was no difference between the groups in oxygen saturation (p=0.74); patients treated with salbutamol had a small increase in heart rate after two treatments (159±16 vs 151±16; p=0.03). We conclude that salbutamol is safe and effective for the initial treatment of young children with acute bronchiolitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-811
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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