What Do Pediatricians in Training Know About the Correct Use of Inhalers and Spacer Devices?

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1994 Oct;94(4):669-75. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(94)90173-2.


Most patients with asthma in the United States are cared for by nonspecialist physicians. Because inhaled medications are the mainstay of asthma therapy and their successful use requires both practical skills and theoretic knowledge, we wondered how much nonspecialist physicians know about the use of metered-dose inhalers and spacer devices. Fifty pediatricians in training were interviewed individually. Practical knowledge was assessed by asking each to demonstrate correct use of a placebo inhaler and a spacer device (Inspirease [Key Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Miami, Fla.] and Aerochamber with mask [Monaghan Medical Corp., Plattsburgh, N.Y.]). Of the seven recommended steps for use of metered-dose inhalers, the residents demonstrated an average of 3.8 steps correctly. The most common errors included not shaking the metered-dose inhaler before use (18% of residents correct) and insufficient breath holding (28% correct). In testing spacer use, the most common errors included not shaking the canister (16% correct) and incorrect number of activations and inhalations (12% correct). Many residents were not familiar with correct assembly of the spacer (48% correct). Theoretic knowledge of metered-dose inhaler and spacer use was evaluated by a written questionnaire. The most common deficiencies in theoretic knowledge related to the purpose of slow inspiration and breath holding. Most of the participants had been treating children with asthma and had prescribed metered-dose inhalers (45 of 50, 90%) and spacer devices (76%) in the past.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physicians*