Design: Before and 20 minutes following racemic albuterol therapy, a nurse, respiratory therapist, and physician performed simultaneous examinations and assessed response to albuterol in a population of intubated infants with bronchiolitis. Measurements of ventilator-derived pulmonary mechanics were obtained at these same times.
Setting: This study was conducted in a PICU of a children's hospital.
Patients: Seventy-five paired clinical assessments were made in 25 infants who were intubated and mechanically ventilated for severe bronchiolitis.
Interventions: Pulmonary function measurements and clinical assessments before and after administration of albuterol.
Measurements and Main Results: Response to albuterol was defined using a threshold of improvement in respiratory system resistance from baseline. Nine children (36%) had greater than 20% change and were deemed responders. Providers' discrimination of response was poor. The positive predictive values of nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians were 38%, 25%, and 25%, respectively, and the negative predictive values were 67%, 54%, and 59%, respectively. Overall accuracy was 44% for nurses, 40% for respiratory therapists, and 48% for physicians. When comparing separate assessments of wheezing, aeration, and expiratory time, there was poor agreement between groups of providers in all variables ([kappa]