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Spacers made from sealed cold-drink bottles were as effective as conventional spacers in children with acute asthma

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 QUESTION: In children with acute asthma, are homemade spacers as effective as conventional ones for improving response to a β2 agonist given by metered dose inhaler?


Randomised {allocation concealed*}, blinded (outcome assessors),* controlled trial with 15 to 30 minute follow up.


A children's hospital in South Africa.


88 children, 5 to 13 years of age (mean age 10 y, 60% boys, 50% moderate to severe airway obstruction [peak expiratory flow rate {PEFR} 20% to 59% of predicted normal value]), with a history of asthma, and presented with an acute asthma attack. Exclusion criteria were inability to use a metered dose inhaler (MDI) and spacer or to have pulmonary function tests with PEFR <20% of the predicted …

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  • Source of funding: Medical Research Council of South Africa.

  • For correspondence: Dr H Zar, Child Health Unit, 46 Sawkins Road, Rondebosch, South Africa 7700. Fax +27 27 21 689 5403.

  • * See glossary.

  • Information supplied by author.