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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

MOAWAD, E M I et al. Cross-sectional evaluation of the Bronchitis Severity Score in Egyptian children: A move to reduce antibiotics. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2017, vol.107, n.4, pp.342-345. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/samj.2017.v107i4.11428.

BACKGROUND. Despite evidence of limited benefit of antibiotics in acute bronchitis, most paediatric patients are prescribed them. OBJECTIVES. To assess the validity of the Bronchitis Severity Score (BSS) in assessing the clinical response to treatment of acute bronchitis, and determine whether clinical data and basic laboratory measurements can be used to guide antibiotic prescription. METHODS. We enrolled 200 patients (age range 6 months - 12 years) with clinically diagnosed acute bronchitis. They were divided into three groups according to age. All patients were evaluated three times during the bronchitis episode (days 0, 5 and 7). The primary outcome measurement was the change in the BSS from day 0 to day 7. RESULTS. On the initial visit, the mean (standard deviation (SD)) BSS was 8.36 (2.6), indicating moderate severity of bronchitis. The mean BSS decreased to 4.03 (2.3) on day 5 and to 2.36 (1.45) on day 7. Initial blood tests showed anaemia (80%), leucocytosis (6%), bandaemia (3%) and lymphocytosis (52%). Only four patients were positive for C-reactive protein, while the erythrocyte sedimentation rate was elevated in 98% of cases. There were significant correlations between bandaemia, fever grade (p<0.001) and white blood cell count with clinical variables such as the presence of secretions on chest auscultation (p<0.05) and toxic facies on general examination (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Acute bronchitis in children is a self-limiting disease that does not require routine administration of antibiotics. The BSS is a simple and practical clinical scoring system that is useful in evaluating disease severity and monitoring disease resolution in acute bronchitis.

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