Efficacy of a home-made spacer with acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma: a randomized controlled trial

T Singhal, H Garg, H S Arora, R Lodha, R M Pandey, S K Kabra
Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2001, 68 (1): 37-40
Metered dose inhaler (MDI) with spacer is the preferred method for administration of aerosolized medications in pediatric asthma. The expense of commercial spacers limits their use and indigenous alternatives have therefore been developed. Information on the clinical efficacy of home-made spacers is limited. This study was conducted to compare the efficacy of a valve-less home-made spacer with a commercial spacer in delivering salbutamol via MDI in acute asthma. Asthmatic children aged 5-15 years who presented with an acute exacerbation to the pediatric chest clinic of a tertiary care hospital were enrolled in a single blinded randomized parallel group study. The study patients received 10 puffs of salbutamol (100 microg/puff) via MDI-home-made spacer or MDI-commercial spacer. Pre and post inhalation measurements of peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), oxygen saturation (SaO2), respiratory rate (RR), pulse rate (PR) were made and compared. Sixty children were enrolled in the study, 31 were administered salbutamol via the home-made spacer and 29 via the commercial spacer. The median increase in PEFR was similar in both the groups (20.8% vs 22.2%, p=0.4), clinical improvement being satisfactory in all patients. The valve-less home-made spacer is equally efficacious and cheaper than the commercial spacer in administering bronchodilators in acute exacerbations of asthma. Further studies on the efficacy of home-made spacer in delivery of inhaled steroids are needed.

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