Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Bulb Aspirator With a Nasal-Oral Aspirator in the Treatment of Bronchiolitis

Whitney Wroe Schwarz, Matthew Wilkinson, Addison Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aimed to compare the traditional bulb aspirator with a nasal-oral aspirator in the treatment of bronchiolitis. Methods: This was a single-center, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Patients with bronchiolitis discharged from the emergency department were randomized to receive a bulb or nasal-oral aspirator for home use. Data regarding return visits, hydration, respiratory relief, parental satisfaction, device preference, and adverse events were gathered using a predistribution questionnaire, diary, poststudy questionnaire, and chart review. Results: There was not a statistically significant difference in the rate of unscheduled return visits (bulb vs nasal-oral, 28.2% vs 20.7%; P = 0.26). No difference was seen in hydration or respiratory relief in either the diary or poststudy questionnaire. The nasal-oral aspirator had higher satisfaction rates (bulb vs nasal-oral, 68.8% vs 93.9%; P < 0.01). When asked which device was preferred with regard to all devices ever tried, 57.2% of respondents reported the nasal-oral aspirator. More adverse events were seen with the bulb compared with the nasal-oral aspirator (bulb vs nasal-oral, 50.0% vs 17.5%; P < 0.01). Conclusions: No difference was appreciated between the bulb and nasal-oral aspirators in unscheduled return rates. The nasal-oral aspirator demonstrated higher parental satisfaction and preference rates, and fewer adverse effects compared with the bulb aspirator. Medical providers should have a cost-benefit discussion with caregivers when recommending home aspirators for the treatment of bronchiolitis. Registry ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03288857. Comparison of the Bulb Aspirator With a Nasal-Oral Aspirator in the Treatment of Bronchiolitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E529-E533
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchiolitis
  • Bulb aspirator
  • Nasal-oral aspirator
  • Naspira

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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