Survey of Current Institutional Practices in the Use of High-Flow Nasal Cannula for Pediatric Patients

Amy Y. Cheng, Harold K. Simon, Judson Miller, Martha Wetzel, April Zmitrovich, Kiran B. Hebbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: High-flownasal cannula (HFNC) is an oxygen delivery device that provides heated humidified air with higher flow rates. The purpose of this survey is to look at institutional practice patterns of HFNC initiation, weaning, and disposition for pediatric patients across the United States. Methods: Survey was sent via electronic listservs to pediatric physicians in emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, and urgent care. The questionnaire was divided into demographics and HFNC practices (initiation, management, and weaning). One response per institution was included in the analysis. Results: Two hundred twenty-four responses were included in the analysis, composed of 40% pediatric emergency medicine physicians, 46% pediatric hospitalists, 13% pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) physicians, and 1%pediatric urgent care physicians. Ninety-eight percent of the participants have HFNC at their institution. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents had a formal guideline for HFNC initiation. Nearly all guideline and nonguideline institutions report HFNC use in bronchiolitis. Guideline cohort is more likely to have exclusion criteria for HFNC (42% in the guideline cohort vs 17% in the nonguideline cohort; P < 0.001) and less frequently mandates PICU admissions once on HFNC (11%in the guideline cohort vs 56% in the nonguideline cohort; P < 0.001). Forty-six percent of guideline cohort had an objective scoring system to help determine the need for HFNC, and 73% had a weaning guideline. Conclusions: Although there is general agreement to use HFNC in bronchiolitis, great practice variation remains in the initiation, management, and weaning of HFNC across the United States. There is also a discordance on PICU use when a patient is using HFNC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E151-E156
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • High flow nasal cannula
  • Institutional practices
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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