In the respiratory world, a “spacer” or “holding chamber” refers to a product that is used with an inhaler (also known as an MDI or metered-dose inhaler).
An inhaler that patients use for relief from wheezing, shortness of breath, and other respiratory maladies are only effective if the user has good technique. To understand what that is, consider first the basics of an inhaler.
An inhaler is a canister of medication that is inhaled into the lungs for quick or ongoing relief from breathing problems. The patient must be able to “actuate” the canister to release the medication and “inhale” it as deeply as possible at the same time. An inhaler is a canister of medication that is inhaled into the lungs for quick or ongoing relief from breathing problems. The patient must be able to “actuate” the canister to release the medication and “inhale” it as deeply as possible at the same time.
If not done properly, most of the medication ends up in the mouth or at the back of the throat instead of in the airway. This can lead to overuse of the medication or minimal relief from the treatment.
Doing it properly is not as easy as it sounds, however. It is especially challenging if the patient has dexterity problems, has a tremor, is having a crisis, is elderly or a child, or cannot coordinate releasing the medication and inhaling at the same time, a common problem.
Most doctors now will order a “spacer” or “holding chamber” so that the patient can still benefit from the inhaled treatment.
A spacer or holding chamber attaches to the inhaler and allows the patient to release the medication into the chamber and then inhale it. It does not require any coordination at all.
Spacers come with mouthpieces or masks. The chamber is made of plastic, is tube- or football-shaped, and comes apart for washing.
There are no contraindications for the use of a spacer. It can be safely used by anyone who needs an inhaler/mdi. It is especially useful for elderly and pediatric patients where ability and/or understanding is minimal.
Importantly, the chamber does not hold the aerosol for a long period of time. The patient needs to inhale through the spacer slowly and deeply but must do so within 5- 10 seconds of releasing the medication or else the medication will “rain out” in the chamber and be useless.
Spacers/holding chambers are an excellent tool for your healthcare toolbox if you use inhaled medications. You can buy them without a prescription. Always follow your doctor’s and the manufacturer's instructions on their use and care.
There are also spacers available for tracheostomy patients. The Monaghan AeroVent Plus Collapsible Chamber can be used in conjunction with a ventilator, while The Monaghan AeroTrach can be used for an open trach.
RDS Microchamber Aerosol Holding Chamber
Health Products For You offers a huge range of inhaler spacers to simplify the inhaling process, ensuring you get the prescribed amount of medication. HPFY is your destination for health and wellness products at exceptional savings. Shop with us and get exclusive discounts on all that you need. Place your order today!
Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist
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