Home » Respiratory » Important factors to consider when choosing a nebuliser

Mal Apter

General Manager UK & Ireland, PARI Medical

Nebulisers are a vital tool for patients with a range of respiratory health conditions.

Nebulisers have the ability to rapidly deliver drugs to the lungs and, following NHS clinical guidelines, can help in conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and be used for people with excess mucus in their lungs. 

However, experts warn that the design and manufacture of the nebuliser has to be of a high standard to deliver the best quality of life for the patient. 

Droplet size

A nebuliser is an electric device that turns liquid medicine such as saline, bronchodilators and antibiotics into a fine mist (aerosol) that patients can inhale to help their lungs work more efficiently.

With nebuliser therapy, the amount of medication that quickly and directly reaches the lungs is crucial.

Mal Apter, who has worked in the respiratory device sector for several years, emphasises the importance of correct droplet size.

“Droplets need to be less than five microns, or five one-thousandths of a millimetre, in diameter to make it down to the central part of the lung to have the clinical benefit that is intended,” he says. That precision, he adds, requires specialist manufacturing knowledge.

A nebuliser is an electric device that turns liquid medicine such as saline, bronchodilators and antibiotics into a fine mist (aerosol).

Liquid medication

Nebulisers are normally powered by an air compressor. The compressed air forces the liquid medication to form into droplets of the right size to be inhaled by patients.

Apter, who is general manager of medical device distributor PARI Medical in the UK, explains that most nebulisers use mains power, though smaller portable devices can run off batteries.

The majority of inhaled medications are taken by patients at home. While patients will have a prescription for liquid medication, most will have to buy their own nebuliser.

Main considerations

Apter says: “The main considerations for a patient when buying a nebuliser are the amount of aerosol being produced that is less than five microns, the time it takes for nebuliser therapy and the ‘respiratory drug delivery rate’, which describes the amount of aerosol being produced per minute.”

This video explains what to look out for.

A new webshop has been launched at www.nebicorum.co.uk where patients can buy PARI nebulisers. All devices are made in Germany and go through rigorous user focus group and product testing.

“It is about making sure patients have a device that is convenient, easy to live with and optimises the delivery of the drug so that they have the best quality of life,” adds Apter.

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