Prototype Aerochamber

IHPST · Stan Epstein Collection

Accession Number: 2019.ihpst.79.1-2


2019.ihpst.79.1: A cylindrical plastic artefact, slightly tapered at one end, with a wider section at the other. A whited zip tie is bound to the wider end. The artefact has openings at both ends.

2019.ihpst.79.2: A cardboard toilet paper tube.

Primary Materials: Plastic, Paper.


There is a “P” marked in blue ink on the rim of the wider end of the plastic prototype.

Dimensions (cm):

2019.ihpst.79.1: Length = 13, Max diameter = 3.6


The Aerochamber (referred to a “spacer”) was designed to prevent errors in the use of the pressurized metered dose inhaler. This prototype was created for clinical trials of the device.

The toilet paper tube ( 2019.ihpst.79.2) was used as a “cheap spacer”.


Very good: The artefact is superficially worn and abraded.

Manufacturer: McMaster University

Date of Manufacture: c. 1983


This prototype was provided by Dr. Mike Newhouse of McMaster University for clinical trials of the device by a team led by Dr. Stanley Epstein (see Epstein et al, 1983).

This item was acquired along with a collection of medical artefacts from the home of Dr. Stanley Epstein on February 19, 2019.

Additional Information and References:

Epstein SW, Manning P, Ashley MJ, Corey PN. Survey of the Clinical Use of Pressurized Aerosol Inhalers. Canadian Medical Association Journal 120 (1979): 813-816.

D. Corr, M. Dolovich, D. McCormack, R. Ruffin, G. Ominski, M. Newhouse: The Aerochamber: A New Demand /Inhalation Devise for Delivery of Aerosolized Drugs. American Review of Respiratory Disease (1980), 121:123

S. W. Epstein, J. E. Parsons, P. N. Corey, G. H. Worlsley, P. R. Reilly, “A Comparison of Three Means of Pressurized Aerosol Inhaler Use.” American Review of Respiratory Disease 128 (1983) : 253-255.

Historical Notes:

The Aerochamber was designed to prevent errors in the use of the pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI), which require the user to trigger the release mechanism while simultaneously inhaling. The Aerochamber divided this process into two discreet steps; the user would release the medication into the chamber through a one-way valve. The user could then inhale the medication when they were ready.

The Aerochamber originally designed Dr. D. Corr and his collaborators at McMaster University. It was first described by Dr. Corr et all in 1980 (see References). Dr. Mike Newhouse of McMaster University later commercialized the Aerochamber in collaboration with Trudel Instruments. This launched the development of a series of Aerochamber-type instruments that are documented in this collection.

Dr. Stanley Epstein’s earlier clinical research on the misuse of the metered dose inhaler (Epstein et al. 1979) led to a collaboration with Dr. Newhouse to test the Aerochamber for correcting the user errors documented in these trials. This prototype Instrument was developed for these clinical trials carried out at the University of Toronto (see Epstein et al. 1983). These trials were inconclusive, likely due in part to the large doses that were characteristic of metered dose inhalers at that point as even an improperly used inhaler would have delivered an effective amount of medicine.

Further trials were carried out by Dr. Newhouse in collaboration with Dr. John Toogood at the University of Western Ontario in London Ontario. These showed that long-term user of the chamber by asthmatic patients using inhaled corticosteroids led to fewer pharyngeal fungal infections (oral thrush). These successful trials led to the subsequent commercialization of the technology.

  • Donated to UTSIC