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Bronchitis, Emergency Medicine

Robin R. Hemphill Reviewed 06/2017



  • Hyperemia and edema of the mucous membranes

  • Production of mucopurulent exudates

  • Impairment of the productive function of the cilia, lymphatics, and phagocytes

  • Airway obstruction from:

    • Ed...


Signs and Symptoms


  • Complaints that may precede upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms:

    • Malaise

    • Chills

    • Myalgias

    • Coryza (rhinitis)

    • Sore throat

  • Onset of URTI symptoms:

    • Mild dyspnea

    • Cou...



  • Maintain adequate oxygenation

  • Bronchodilators if wheezing is present

Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Aggressive initial management of these patients is seldom required.

  • Administer oxyg...



Admission Criteria

  • Underlying significant cardiopulmonary compromise

  • Significant hypoxia

  • Ill patient with unclear diagnosis

Discharge Criteria

  • No pulmonary compromise should be present...

Pearls and Pitfalls

Patients with high fever or significant pulmonary symptoms should be evaluated for pneumonia. 

Additional Reading

  • Aagaard  E, Gonzales  R. Management of acute bronchitis. Infect Dis Clinic North Am.  2004;18:919–937.

  • Becker  LA, Hom  J, Villasis-Keever  M, et al. Beta2-agonists for acute br...



  • 466.0 Acute bronchitis

  • 466.11 Acute bronchiolitis due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

  • 490 Bronchitis, not specified as acute or chronic

  • 466.19 Acute bronchiolitis due to other infectious o...

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