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Original article

Vol. 154 No. 4 (2024)

An in-hospital intervention to reduce the proportion of misused inhalers at hospital discharge among patients with COPD: a non-randomised intervention study

Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2024;154:3394


AIMS OF THE STUDY: Misuse of inhalers during chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment is common and may result from errors in inhalation technique or insufficient peak inspiratory flow (PIF). We aimed to evaluate the impact of an in-hospital intervention to reduce inhaler misuse at hospital discharge among patients with COPD.

METHODS: We conducted a monocentric, non-randomised intervention study to compare the proportion of misused inhalers at hospital discharge by patients with COPD between a group with standard care and a group receiving an in-hospital intervention. The control group successively included all patients hospitalised between March and June 2022, and the intervention group included patients hospitalised between August and December 2022. The intervention consisted of (a) an evaluation of inhalation technique and PIF at admission, (b) the provision of a written guide to assist in the selection of an inhaler, and (c) therapeutic education. The primary outcome was the proportion of misused inhalers, defined as an inhaler used with a critical error and/or insufficient PIF, at hospital discharge. The primary outcome was assessed by observing inhalation technique and measuring PIF using the In-Check DIAL G16® .

RESULTS: The study included 93 patients: 46 in the control group and 47 in the intervention group. Mean age was 70.5 years (SD 10.9 years), 56 patients (60.2%) were men, and 57 patients (62%) were hospitalised for a COPD exacerbation. Patients used an average of 1.9 inhalers at hospital discharge; 98 inhalers were assessed in the control group and 81 in the intervention group. The proportion of misused inhalers at discharge was 61.2% in the control group and 21.0% in the intervention group (absolute risk reduction 40.2% [95% CI 25.5–55.0]; p <0.01). In the intervention group, the proportion of inhalers used with at least one critical error was reduced by 38.6% (95% CI 24.3–52.3%) and that of inhalers used with insufficient PIF by 13.9% (95% CI 4.2–23.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: An in-hospital intervention was associated with a reduction in the proportion of misused inhalers at hospital discharge. This intervention should be considered for hospitalised patients with COPD.

The trial was registered with (NCT05207631).


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