Metered-dose inhaler `spacers` harbor multiple microorganisms

A physician at Stevens Community Medical Center, Morris, Minnesota, reported on a single-blind, randomized pilot study in which he found multiple microorganisms in the "spacers’’ used with metered-dose inhaler (MDIs).

Jack L. Mutnick, MD, recruited patients with reactive airways disease to determine if their spacers are harbors for microbial or fungal organisms. The patients were randomized to the inhalers and sterile sampling was done at three, six, and 12 months at four specific sites. As noted, multiple microorganisms were cultured throughout.

"Though many of the organisms cultured are considered commensal to the body, the lung is highly vascular with massive surface area," Dr. Mutnick noted. "Despite physician and [manufacturer] recommendations to clean the ‘'spacer’ on a frequent basis, it is highly likely that patients are non-compliant."