What do pediatricians in training know about the correct use of inhalers and spacer devices?

Israel Amirav, Avner Goren, Nicholas A. Pawlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


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. The results suggest that, despite substantial involvement in asthma management, pediatricians in training have significant inadequacies in knowledge of the practical and theoretic aspects of metered-dose inhaler and spacer use. Asthma specialists may need to take a leading role in the development and implementation of educational programs about inhaled therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-675
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • inhaled therapy
  • spacer devices
  • training metered-dose inhaler


Dive into the research topics of 'What do pediatricians in training know about the correct use of inhalers and spacer devices?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this