Advancing, promoting and sharing knowledge of health through excellence in teaching, clinical practice and research into the prevention and treatment of illness

Holding chambers (spacers) versus nebulisers for beta-agonist treatment of acute asthma

Cates, CJ; Crilly, JA; Rowe, BH (2006) Holding chambers (spacers) versus nebulisers for beta-agonist treatment of acute asthma. COCHRANE DATABASE OF SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS (2). pp. 1-97. ISSN 1469-493X
SGUL Authors: Cates, Christopher Joseph

PDF Published Version
Download (887kB) | Preview


In acute asthma inhaled beta 2-agonists are often administered to relieve bronchospasm by wet nebulisation, but some have argued that metered-dose inhalers with a holding chamber (spacer) can be equally effective. Nebulisers require a power source and need regular maintenance, and are more expensive in the community setting.ObjectivesTo assess the effects of holding chambers (spacers) compared to nebulisers for the delivery of beta 2-agonists for acute asthma.Search strategyWe last searched the Cochrane Airways Group trials register in January 2006 and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2005).Selection criteriaRandomised trials in adults and children (from two years of age) with asthma, where spacer beta 2-agonist delivery was compared with wet nebulisation.Data collection and analysisTwo reviewers independently applied study inclusion criteria (one reviewer for the first version of the review), extracted the data and assessed trial quality. Missing data were obtained from the authors or estimated. Results are reported with 95% confidence intervals (CI).Main resultsThis review has been updated in January 2006 and four new trials have been added. 2066 children and 614 adults are now included in 25 trials from emergency room and community settings. In addition, six trials on in-patients with acute asthma (213 children and 28 adults) have been reviewed. Method of delivery of beta 2-agonist did not appear to affect hospital admission rates. In adults, the relative risk of admission for spacer versus nebuliser was 0.97 (95% CI 0.63 to 1.49). The relative risk for children was 0.65 (95% CI: 0.4 to 1.06). In children, length of stay in the emergency department was significantly shorter when the spacer was used, with a mean difference of -0.47 hours (95% CI: -0.58 to -0.37). Length of stay in the emergency department for adults was similar for the two delivery methods. Peak flow and forced expiratory volume were also similar for the two delivery methods. Pulse rate was lower for spacer in children, mean difference -7.6% baseline (95% CI: -9.9 to -5.3% baseline).Authors' conclusionsMetered-dose inhalers with spacer produced outcomes that were at least equivalent to nebuliser delivery. Spacers may have some advantages compared to nebulisers for children with acute asthma.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This review is published as a Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2. Cochrane Reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to comments and criticisms, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews should be consulted for the most recent version of the Review. Cates CJ, Crilly JA, Rowe BH. Holding chambers (spacers) versus nebulisers for beta-agonist treatment of acute asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD000052. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000052.pub2.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Medicine, General & Internal, General & Internal Medicine, METERED-DOSE INHALER, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL, AIR-FLOW OBSTRUCTION, BRONCHODILATOR DELIVERY METHODS, HAND-HELD NEBULIZER, PEAR-SHAPED SPACER, YOUNG-CHILDREN, JET NEBULIZER, WET NEBULIZER, HOSPITALIZED-PATIENTS, Acute Disease, Adrenergic beta-Agonists, Adult, Anti-Asthmatic Agents, Asthma, Child, Child, Preschool, Equipment Design, Humans, Nebulizers and Vaporizers, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Population Health Research Institute (INPH)
ISSN: 1469-493X
Related URLs:
Web of Science ID: WOS:000236932100074
Publisher's version:

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item