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Nebulisers - 1: Preparation

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VOL: 96, ISSUE: 36, PAGE NO: 45

GARY PORTER-JONES, RESPIRATORY NURSE SPECIALIST, GWYNEDD HOSPITAL, BANGOR, WALES

Nebulisation is a method of turning a drug or solution into a mist which is inhaled directly into the lungs. The most common nebulised drugs are bronchodilators, although many other drugs can be nebulised, for example, steroids and antibiotics.

Nebulisation is a method of turning a drug or solution into a mist which is inhaled directly into the lungs. The most common nebulised drugs are bronchodilators, although many other drugs can be nebulised, for example, steroids and antibiotics.

To carry out the process the solution is placed in the nebuliser chamber which is then connected to either an oxygen outlet or an air compressor which drives the nebuliser. The driving gas - air or oxygen - must be indicated by the prescribing doctor. Before setting the flow, nurses should consult hospital policy but, in general, people with asthma should have nebulisers driven by oxygen and the flow rate should be set at 6-8 litres per minute unless otherwise stated. People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should have nebulisers driven by an air compressor.

The nebuliser chamber and the compressor used should be compatible with each other, and a mask or mouthpiece may be used by the patient, whichever is the more suitable for the individual. If the patient is to receive an anticholinergic bronchodilator, for example ipratropium bromide, and also has glaucoma, a mouthpiece is preferred as this reduces the leakage of nebulised solution into the eyes.

There are different kinds of nebuliser available; for example, jet, ultrasonic, high flow; this series shows the use of a standard flow jet nebuliser as it would be used in a hospital.

Compressors should be serviced on a regular basis according to local policy.

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