Results of a pulmonologist survey regarding knowledge and practices with inhalation devices for COPD

Sidney S. Braman, Brian W. Carlin, Nicola A. Hanania, Donald A. Mahler, Jill A. Ohar, Victor Pinto-Plata, Tina Shah, David Eubanks, Rajiv Dhand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: COPD guidelines advise on inhaled medication use, yet no advice is offered on when to use and which type of patient could benefit from a specific delivery device. We investigated pulmonologists’ perception of their knowledge and practices with delivery devices for COPD management. METHODS: An online survey was designed by a steering committee of American Thoracic Society clinicians and scientists and conducted by a national market research firm between January 7 and 29, 2016. RESULTS: Two hundred and five respondents completed the survey. Nearly 80% of the respondents believed that they were very knowledgeable in COPD management and the use of medications; 68% believed that they were knowledgeable about preventing exacerbations. Ninety-eight percent of the respondents stated that they were at least somewhat knowledgeable about devices. Many respondents (70%) stated that small-volume nebulizers were more effective than dry powder inhalers and pressurized metered-dose inhalers in the management of COPD exacerbations, and 63% believed that these were more effective in severe COPD (modified Medical Research Council dyspnea scale grade 4). Only 54% of the respondents discussed device options with their patients. Physician screening for physical or cognitive impairments that could impact device choices was 53% and 16%, respectively. Seventy percent of the respondents discussed device use, whereas 9% discussed cleaning and storage during a patient’s first visit. Few respondents were very knowledgeable in teaching patients how to use devices (43%) and, specifically, how to use (32%) or clean and/or maintain (20%) small-volume nebulizers. CONCLUSIONS: Most respondents were confident in their knowledge about treating COPD. Fewer respondents were confident about the use and maintenance of inhalation devices, and most respondents desired to learn more about inhalation devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-848
Number of pages9
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • COPD
  • Inhalation therapy
  • Small-volume nebulizers


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