Testing & Diagnosis for Bronchiolitis in Children

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How is bronchiolitis diagnosed?

Doctors usually diagnose bronchiolitis solely through physical examination and taking the history of your child, but they may order additional tests to rule out other diseases, such as pneumonia or asthma. To help the confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may also order:

  • chest x-rays - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film.
  • blood tests
  • pulse oximetry - an oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To obtain this measurement, a small sensor (like a Band-Aid) is taped onto your child’s finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
  • nasopharyngeal swab - These tests quickly indicate the presence of RSV and other viruses.
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