Aims: The aim of this study was to compare a low-cost, human-powered nebuliser compressor with an electric nebuliser compressor for the treatment of mild to moderate asthma exacerbations in adults and children.
Methods: This was a non-blinded, parallel-group, equivalence study, with 110 subjects between 6 and 65 years of age, conducted in the emergency department of a district hospital in Ilopango, El Salvador. Participants were assigned by random allocation to receive a 2.5-mg dose of salbutamol from the experimental human-powered nebuliser or the electric nebuliser control. All assigned participants completed treatment and were included in analysis. The study was not blinded as this was clinically unfeasible; however, data analysis was blinded.
Results: The mean improvement in peak flow of the experimental and control groups was 37.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 26.7–48.2) l/min and 38.7 (95% CI, 26.1–51.3) l/min, respectively, with a mean difference of 1.3 (95% CI, −15.1 to 17.7) l/min. The mean improvement in percent-expected peak flow for the experimental and control groups was 12.3% (95% CI, 9.1–15.5%) and 13.8% (95% CI, 9.8–17.9%), respectively, with a mean difference of 1.5% (95% CI, −3.6 to 6.6%).
Conclusions: The human-powered nebuliser compressor is equivalent to a standard nebuliser compressor for the treatment of mild-to-moderate asthma. (Funded by the Opus Dean’s Fund, Marquette University College of Engineering; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01795742.)
© 2014 Primary Care Respiratory Society UK/Macmillan Publishers Limited.