Evaluation of MDI-spacer utilization and technique in caregivers of urban minority children with persistent asthma

J Asthma. 2014 Mar;51(2):149-54. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2013.854379. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


Objective: Incorrect Metered-Dose Inhaler (MDI)-spacer technique can result in decreased drug delivery to distal airways and poor asthma outcomes. There is lack of research to examine whether the caregivers utilize proper technique when applying an MDI-spacer delivery system for young minority children with persistent asthma in the United States. The objective of this study was to evaluate MDI-spacer utilization and technique among the caregivers of Bronx minority children with persistent asthma and to determine characteristics associated with correct use.

Methods: We analyzed data from 169 caregivers of urban minority children with persistent asthma (aged 2-9 years). MDI-spacer device technique was assessed using a 10-step checklist derived from the national guidelines, literature and manufacturers' instructions. Based on the median MDI-technique score of six steps demonstrated accurately, caregivers were categorized as correct (seven or more) or incorrect (six or less) users.

Results: Of the 169 caregivers, 95% were mothers, mean age 32.3 years (SD 7.6), 56% were unemployed; 74% of the children were Hispanic, 87% had either "not well controlled" or "very poorly controlled" asthma, 92% had a spacer at home and 71% used it "all" or "most" of the time. Only one caregiver correctly demonstrated all 10 steps of the MDI-spacer technique. Child's having one or more asthma-related hospitalizations in the past 12 months and higher caregiver educational level were independent predictors of correct MDI-spacer technique.

Conclusions and relevance: The caregivers of urban, minority children with persistent asthma lack proper MDI-spacer technique, suggesting the potential value of both targeted short- and long-term educational interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Caregivers*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Spacers / standards
  • Inhalation Spacers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • New York
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents