European Respiratory Journal vol:31 issue:1 pages:78-83
Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) are increasingly replacing metered dose inhalers in elderly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. However, most DPIs are dependent on inspiratory flow, which is compromised by the ageing process itself. Using the in-check dial method, the present study compared peak inspiratory flow (PIF) rates in 26 elderly COPD patients and 14 matched control subjects, at a pre-set resistance level of the Aeroliser, Diskus and Turbuhaler inhalers. It was found that the PIF measured by the in-check method positively correlated with the PIF derived from spirometry, forced vital capacity and maximal inspiratory pressure, while a negative, but significant, correlation was observed with age. PIF derived from spirometry and age were independent variables which determined PIF across the device, whereas the presence or absence of COPD was not related. When comparing elderly COPD patients with matched elderly controls no difference could be found in PIF at the different resistances. However, an important number of patients did not reach the recommended flow rate, especially when using the Turbuhaler (30%). In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that, in elderly patients, the ability to generate sufficient inspiratory flow across a dry powder inhaler is compromised, irrespective of the presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.