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Outpatient Patient Presents with Respiratory Distress

Bronchiolitis is diagnosed on the basis of the history and physical examination. There is no gold standard for diagnosing the disease. Although the viral etiology may be identified (e.g. by viral culture, nucleic amplification testing, or rapid antigen testing), there is no specific test that confirms the diagnosis of bronchiolitis itself. RSV rapid antigen testing, chest x-ray, complete blood counts, and basic metabolic panels may be indicated in specific clinical situations, though there is no evidence for routinely obtaining these tests. (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2006).

These guidelines do not establish a standard of care to be followed in every case. It is recognized that each case is different and those individuals involved in providing health care are expected to use their judgment in determining what is in the best interests of the patient based on the circumstances existing at the time. It is impossible to anticipate all possible situations that may exist and to prepare guidelines for each. Accordingly these guidelines should guide care with the understanding that departures from them may be required at times.