Effectiveness of Non-invasive Ventilation in Treating Infants Aged 1 to 12 Months with Severe Bronchiolitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Maria Lourdes C. Pagaspas
  • Maria Cristina H. Lozada
Keywords: non-invasive ventilation, bronchiolitis, infants, respiratory support, CPAP, BiPAP, NCPAP


Objective. This study was done to determine the effectiveness of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in treating infants aged 1 to 12 months with severe bronchiolitis based on a systematic review of literature and meta-analysis of quantitative results.

Methods. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram for identification, screening, and identification of eligible studies. Five databases (PubMed, Herdin, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and Science Direct) were searched for relevant studies involving the use of NIV among children with severe bronchiolitis. Included studies were assessed for quality and risk of bias.

Results. There were 9 included eligible studies. The length of hospital stay and duration of respiratory support were significantly lower with the use of NIV compared with IMV (invasive mechanical ventilation) based on pooled standard mean difference (SMD) estimates; however, there was high statistical heterogeneity in the included studies. This can be attributed to differences in the mode of intervention used among studies, patient-specific factors, and viral virulence. Significant improvements in heart rate, oxygen saturation, and tCO2 were seen in the included studies. One study showed statistically significant differences in changes in respiratory rate and improvement in respiratory status based on two bronchiolitis severity scores among infants placed on NIV.

Conclusion. Fair to good-quality evidence from included studies reveals that there is a significant reduction in length of hospital stay, duration of respiratory support, and improvements in respiratory parameters among infants who received NIV for severe bronchiolitis. Larger, well-designed clinical trials on the use of NIV among resource-limited settings wherein it may offer valuable clinical utility, are recommended for future study