A prospective, comparative trial of standard and breath-actuated nebulizer: Efficacy, safety, and satisfaction

Vichaya Arunthari, Rikki S. Bruinsma, Augustine S. Lee, Margaret Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Nebulized drug delivery is a cornerstone of therapy for obstructive lung disease, but the ideal nebulizer design is uncertain. The breath-actuated nebulizer (BAN) may be superior to conventional nebulizers. This study compared the BAN to standard nebulizer with regard to efficacy, safety, and patient and respiratory therapist (RT) satisfaction. METHODS: Adults admitted to the hospital and for whom nebulizer therapy was prescribed were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to either AeroEclipse II or standard nebulizer and were surveyed at the completion of each treatment. BAN delivered albuterol 2.5 mg or albuterol 2.5 mg plus ipratropium 0.25 mg. Standard nebulizer delivered albuterol 2.5 mg or albuterol plus ipratropium 0.5 mg. An RT assessed each subject's heart rate, respiratory rate, and peak expiratory flow rate prior to and following treatment. Treatment time and adverse events were recorded. Each RT was asked to assess his/her satisfaction with each of the nebulizers. RESULTS: Twenty-eight subjects were studied. The mean age was 69 years. Fifty-four percent of the subjects indicated that overall the BAN was superior to conventional nebulizer therapy; 68% indicated that duration was preferable with the BAN. RTs were more satisfied with the BAN, based on overall performance, treatment duration, and ease of use. There were no significant differences in heart rate, peak expiratory flow rate, or respiratory rate before or after nebulization therapy with either device. The duration of treatment was significantly lower with the BAN (4.1 min vs 9.9 min, P < 001). Additionally, the BAN was associated with a lower occurrence of adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Patients and RTs expressed greater satisfaction with the BAN, compared with standard nebulizer. Pre- and posttreatment vital signs did not differ between groups, but use of the BAN was associated with a shorter duration and a lower occurrence of adverse events. Taken together, these data support the use of the BAN for nebulized medication delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1247
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2012



  • Adverse events
  • Breath-actuated nebulizer
  • Conventional nebulizer
  • Nebulizers
  • Patient satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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