AIM: Nasal high-flow oxygen therapy is increasingly used in infants for supportive respiratory therapy in bronchiolitis. It is unclear whether enteral hydration is safe in children receiving high-flow.
METHODS: We performed a planned secondary analysis of a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of infants aged <12 months with bronchiolitis and an oxygen requirement. Children were assigned to treatment with either high-flow or standard-oxygen therapy with optional rescue high-flow. We assessed adverse events based on how children on high-flow were hydrated: intravenously (IV), via bolus or continuous nasogastric tube (NGT) or orally.
RESULTS: A total of 505 patients on high-flow via primary study assignment (n = 408), primary treatment (n = 10) or as rescue therapy (n = 87) were assessed. While on high flow, 15 of 505 (3.0%) received only IV fluids, 360 (71.3%) received only enteral fluids and 93 (18.4%) received both IV and enteral fluids. The route was unknown in 37 (7.3%). Of the 453 high-flow infants hydrated enterally patients could receive one or more methods of hydration; 80 (15.8%) received NGT bolus, 217 (43.0%) NGT continuous, 118 (23.4%) both bolus and continuous, 32 (6.3%) received only oral hydration and 171 (33.9%) a mix of NGT and oral hydration. None of the patients receiving oral or NGT hydration on high-flow sustained pulmonary aspiration (0%; 95% confidence interval N/A); one patient had a pneumothorax (0.2%; 95% confidence interval 0.0-0.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: The vast majority of children with hypoxic respiratory failure in bronchiolitis can be safely hydrated enterally during the period when they receive high-flow.