The goal of this study was to evaluate provider practice patterns for evaluation of serious bacterial infection (SBI) in patients hospitalized with bronchiolitis and to assess the association of SBI testing with length of stay and antibiotic use.


This was a retrospective chart review of hospitalized patients <24 months of age with a discharge diagnosis of bronchiolitis from 2 separate study sites during 2004 to 2008. Patient characteristics, laboratory testing, antibiotic use, and clinical outcomes were assessed in relation to SBI testing.


A total of 1233 charts met inclusion criteria. The incidence of urinary tract infections in patients who underwent urine testing was 2.3%. Of the 367 patients undergoing blood culture testing, all 13 positive-result blood cultures were contaminated specimens. There were no cases of meningitis. In total, 64.5% of patients tested for SBI had a blood culture obtained, 45.0% had an urinalysis or urine culture, and 16.3% had a cerebral spinal fluid culture obtained. Of those patients who underwent SBI testing, 53.8% received antibiotics versus 19.1% who did not (P < .0001). Length of stay for patients undergoing SBI testing was 3.4 days versus 2.3 days for those without SBI testing (P < .0001). There was no significant difference in readmission rates.


SBI is uncommon in children hospitalized for bronchiolitis, and urinary tract infection is the most common diagnosis. In the evaluation of SBI in bronchiolitis, providers more frequently obtain blood cultures than urinalysis and/or urine cultures. Evaluation for SBI is associated with increased antibiotic use and increased LOS.

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