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Monday, April 30, 2012

New spacer for inhalers

This is the kind of spacer most of us use who have asthma. 

I just read an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about a new design for a spacer. It seems that four college students developed it for a contest at the University of Utah's Bench to Bedside Medical Device competition. 

One of the students has asthma and hated having to use his spacer when he was growing up. Spacers are big and bulky and they take you have to be coordinated to be able to breath in and depress the inhaler at the right time. Some people just aren't coordinated. Kind of like how I can't walk and chew gum at the same time! For you to get the most medicine from your inhaler, you need a spacer.

For those of you new to asthma, a spacer looks like a clear tube and it attaches to an inhaler. You can see that in the photo above. The medicine is sprayed into the tube, and you SLOWLY inhale it out of the tube. It will whistle if you inhale too quickly. The idea is that it allows you to get the medicine down into your lungs instead of it ending up in the back of your throat.

They haven't changed the design of spacers that much. My son got this one 12 years. There is a newer version of this one, but it doesn't look that different.

Spacers are big and bulky and not easy to carry around. These students designed a small white inhaler that is about the size of a cell phone, so you can easily slide it in your pocket. Great for guys. For us women, it wouldn't take up much room in our purses. (I choose a new purse based on if there is room for my spacer and inhaler. Yes, my life is THAT exciting.) 

These students were pretty creative to design something new. They beat out U of U graduate students and medical students. They won $15,000 for their spacer and another $5,000 for best business plan. To read about the article, click here. 

I am excited to buy one of these when they are finally mass produced. I'll take 4 please. One for me and one for each of my kids that have asthma.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I enjoyed reading about this new device. Are they selling them yet? Have you tried them?

  3. Hi Nat,

    I haven't seen it yet. I did contact one of the developers, I was interested in trying it out. But I think he was overwhelmed with starting a company, and I didn't hear back from him.

    I did find another article on the internet about the LYEN.

    Happy reading!