Use of a remote inhaler monitoring device to measure change in inhaler use with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations

Kaharu Sumino, Emily R. Locke, Sheryl Magzamen, Ina Gylys-Colwell, Olivier Humblet, Huong Q. Nguyen, Rachel M. Thomas, Vincent S. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Remote inhaler monitoring is an emerging technology that enables the healthcare team to monitor the time and location of a patient's inhaler use. We assessed the feasibility of remote inhaler monitoring for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and the pattern of albuterol inhaler use associated with COPD exacerbations. Methods: Thirty-five participants with COPD used an electronic inhaler sensor for 12 weeks which recorded the date and time of each albuterol actuation. Self-reported COPD exacerbations and healthcare utilization were assessed monthly. We used generalized estimating equations with a logit link to compare the odds of an exacerbation day to a nonexacerbation day by the frequency of daily albuterol use. Results: Average daily albuterol use on nonexacerbation days varied greatly between patients, ranging from 1.5 to 17.5 puffs. There were 48 exacerbation events observed in 29 participants during the study period, of which 16 were moderate-to-severe exacerbations. During the moderate-to-severe exacerbation days, the median value in average daily albuterol use increased by 14.1% (interquartile range: 2.7%-56.9%) compared to average nonexacerbation days. A 100% increase in inhaler use was associated with increased odds of a moderate-to severe exacerbation (odds ratio 1.54; 95% CI: 1.21-1.97). Approximately 74% of participants reported satisfaction with the sensor. Conclusions: The electronic inhaler sensor was well received in older patients with COPD over a 12-week period. Increased albuterol use captured by the device was associated with self-reported episodes of moderate-to-severe exacerbations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Adrenergic beta-agonists
  • Chronic obstructive
  • Metered dose inhaler
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Respiratory
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Telemedicine


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