Kid's asthma medication masks may not be effective

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 20, 2006

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Mask-like devices used in conjunction with pressurized metered-dose inhalers to deliver asthma drugs to infants and very young children may not be delivering as much medication as hoped if they are rigid and allow for large amounts of dead space volume, according to a study published in the February Respiratory Care.

"With some masks, the amount of medicine available to the youngest children is severely decreased because of mask size, stiffness and poor fit on the face," said Bruce Rubin, MD, one of the paper's authors and a professor of pediatrics and biomedical engineering at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Researchers purchased seven versions of this type of mask and tested them on an infant-sized mannequin usually used to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They found that the ability of these devices to seal to a child's face varied widely, and this poor fit may reduce the amount of medication the child receives.

This study did not look at actual drug delivered by the masks, although researchers intend to do that later this year with live test subjects.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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