Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Chairperson (Advisor 1)

Thomas R. Hanson, MBA, JD

Reader (Advisor 2)

Todd Patton, MD


Most of the patients with asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in the United States require the use of metered dose inhalers (MDIs) to control their symptoms. Over the past three decades, metered dose inhalers have become a mainstay of asthma therapy. (Mayo Clinic Institution-1, 2000) These aerosolized/pressurized canisters of medication are efficacious in that the medication is delivered directly to the lung tissue. This is where the therapeutic effect takes place. However, many patients cannot coordinate the hand and breath skills necessary to deliver an optimal dose of the medicine. Medical professionals teach techniques to these particular patients. Even after the education of using a MDI properly, some patients maintain difficulty in the proper use of the metered-dose-inhaler. At this point, many physicians and respiratory therapists will advise the patient to use some type of an aerosol spacer device. These devices allow the patient to lesson the critical timing of activation of the MDI with the inhalation of the aerosolized medication into their lungs. There are many aerosol MDIs on the market today with varying features and advantages. Further, these bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids come structured in plastic holders. These plastic holders are used to hold the canister in place while the patient is using the medication. The mouthpiece of each MDI will vary in shapes and lengths, however, approximately 90% of the MDIs on the market share one of two distinct shapes that will be discussed later in this synthesis project.

The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility of introducing a new portable and collapsible spacer device into the medical market place that is currently under development. It is hypothesized that the need for expensive and complicated spacer devices may not be necessary in order to allow a patient the needed space between the MDI easement and their mouth. Therefore, this paper will examine the medical literature and survey medical professionals to determine the rational uses of spacer devices when treating patients on MDIs. This paper will also examine what products are popular spacer devices in the medical community. This will serve to determine the logical methodology that medical professionals use when selecting a particular spacer device.

The outcome of this study speculates that a simple portable spacer device of optimal and medically documented dimensions, will serve as a logical alternative when the need for a spacer device has been determined by a health care professional.


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