Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Allergy Relief >>  Spacer Devices

Spacer Devices

What is a spacer?

A spacer is like an extension mouthpiece used with oral inhalers.It has a wide opening that fits over the mouth and nose, and a narrow opening that can be fitted onto the mouthpiece of an inhaler.It also has side openings that allow the air to circulate,so a patient can breathe normally with the face covered with the spacer.

Inhaler therapy

Inhalers are usually used for asthma and COPD treatment to deliver an aerosol of the desired medicine specifically to the lungs.This avoids the side effects on the rest of the body that happen when giving a medicine via the oral route or as an injection etc. The medication usually used in inhalers are either bronchodilators like Albuterol or steroids like Budenoside or Fluticasone etc. Usually they are divided into 2 types:

  1. Emergency or reliever inhalers: Are the ones that contain a bronchodilator,they give immediate relief when used during an asthma attack.They are usually to be used as needed.
  2. Protector or preventer inhalers: Are the ones that contain steroids,they protect from asthma attack but do not provide any relief when given during an attack.They are usually given in a fixed daily dose. 

What  are the benefits of using a spacer with the inhaler?

The inhaler can be used alone to deliver the aerosol, however adding a spacer has the following advantages:

  1. The inhaler requires the user to press the release in synchronicity with the inhalation phase of breathing.This might be difficult to learn for children and elderly people.The spacer removes the need for synchronicity, the aerosol remains suspended in the spacer for the user to breathe in spontaneously.
  2. The inhaler might propel the aerosol too powerfully, this will lead to a substantial part of the dose being attached to the posterior wall of the mouth and throat, thus less medication is delivered and the patient will have to use another puff of the inhaler. This will eventually cause unnecessary waste of the inhaler, and will increase the side effects caused by deposited steroid medication in the mouth and throat mucosa.The spacer will act as a buffer, and the whole dose will eventually be breathed in by the patient, saving on the inhaler use and decreasing risk of side effects when using steroids.

Asthma is a very common respiratory condition, affecting several adults and children, all over the world. In case a person suffers from a fairly severe case of this problem, it is common for doctors to advise him or her to use an inhaler for asthma, to keep the breathing problems from getting worse.
However, it is very important for all asthmatic patients, including the children, to know how to use an inhaler properly. Hence, it is best to learn how the inhaler is operated, as well as the use of inhaler spacers.

What is an inhaler spacer?

An asthma inhaler spacer can be described as a chamber, which is fit into an inhaler. Asthmatic patients use this inhaler spacer device to improve the overall effectiveness of the inhalers they are using. A spacer for inhaler is like a metallic or a plastic tube, which has been designed specially, to enable the patient to breathe normally, at the other end. There are some inhaler spacers, in which a collapsing bag is used, so that visual feedback is provided as inspiration, to the person who is using the device.

How does a spacer for an asthma inhaler work?

Many asthmatic patients could find it a bit of a challenge to use an inhaler, mainly due to the fact that certain actions need to be performed, in a set sequence and with the perfect timing. Hence, a person using an asthma inhaler without a spacer needs to press down on the device, take in a deep breath as soon as the medication is released, hold the breath for a bit and then release the breath. Performing all these tasks with perfect precision may be difficult, especially for older people and children. Therefore, the use of a spacer for an inhaler can enable them to use the device, without too much difficult, as it avoids such timing problems.

The spacer reduces the speed of the medication from the inhaler, so that the drug has less of an impact on the mouth and has maximum effects on the lungs. Hence, the use of an inhaler spacer for children (below the age of 5) and senior citizens suffering from asthma is highly recommended. Since an inhaler spacer makes it easier to deliver asthma medication during an attack, it may be a good idea for all patients to keep one handy, incase of an emergency. In fact, many health experts also use a large plastic bottle or a polystyrene cup, in place of inhaler spacers, during an emergency.

Some of the most commonly used asthma inhalers are the metered dose inhaler, the diskus (or the dry powder inhaler), the aerolizer and the handihaler, to name a few. Moreover, there are different types of medication that may be recommended for different asthma patients. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor before opting for an albuterol inhaler spacer, or any other metered dose inhaler. In case of an asthma attack, it is best for people to consult a doctor, even if the symptoms may have been relieved through the use of an inhaler.
Submitted on January 16, 2014