Children's Hospital Colorado

Uncomplicated Acute Respiratory Tract Infections (ARTI) Clinical Pathways

Uncomplicated Acute Respiratory Tract Infections (ARTI) include acute otitis media (AOM), conjunctivitis and group A strep (GAS) pharyngitis and are very common diagnoses among pediatric patients. These diagnoses account for the vast majority of antibiotics prescribed to children. The infectious etiology of ARTI is most commonly viral but can also be bacterial. 

Uncomplicated ARTIs are typically managed in the outpatient setting but also occur in the inpatient population, often in combination with other conditions. This pathway aims to provide evidence-based guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated ARTI in outpatient, emergency/urgent care and inpatient settings. In doing so, it may also:

  • Promote diagnostic and antimicrobial stewardship in the care of patients with ARTI
  • Help standardize diagnostic evaluation and antibiotic prescribing practices for ARTI
  • Improve communication to families surrounding evidence-based practices in the diagnosis and treatment of ARTI.

ARTI clinical pathways

About our ARTI clinical pathways

Our ARTI clinical pathways offer best practice recommendations for patients with symptoms of ARTI, including AOM, conjunctivitis and pharyngitis. They were created by our multidisciplinary team of content experts (including primary care, emergency, pharmacy and antibiotic stewardship providers) and process improvement professionals. Our teams reviewed available published literature and they integrated local expert opinion when necessary.

These pathways offer a standardized approach to diagnostic evaluation and treatment of uncomplicated ARTI, including evidence-based recommendations on observation or delayed antibiotic prescribing and shorter durations of antibiotic therapy for bacterial diagnoses.