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Randomised controlled trial
Pulse oximetry may lead to unnecessary hospital admissions for infants with bronchiolitis and mild hypoxaemia
  1. Joseph J Zorc
  1. Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Professor Joseph J Zorc, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Colket CTRB 9004, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19014, USA; zorc{at}

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Viral bronchiolitis is a leading cause for infants to be admitted to hospital. Hospitalisation rates for bronchiolitis increased more than twofold between 1980 and 2000, a period during which pulse oximetry was introduced into routine practice. Practice guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics have stressed that oxygen is not required in otherwise stable infants with saturations greater than 90%.1 However, prior work using surveys and observational data suggests that arbitrary oximetry thresholds in the mild hypoxaemia range (90–95%) may be an important driver for clinicians to decide to admit …

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