Knowledge of oxygen administration, aerosol medicine, and chest physiotherapy among pediatric healthcare workers in Italy

Susanna Esposito, Anna Brivio, Claudia Tagliabue, Carlotta Galeone, Laura Tagliaferri, Domenico Serra, Michela Foà, Maria Francesca Patria, Paola Marchisio, Nicola Principi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Oxygen administration, aerosol devices and drugs, or the use of chest physiotherapy are common practices in pediatrics; however, little is known about the knowledge of pediatric healthcare workers concerning the right utilization of these tools. The aim of this study was to fill this gap as a preliminary step in the implementation of appropriate educational programs. Methods: This cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of Italian pediatricians and nurses was carried out between September 1 and October 8, 2008. A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire concerning the approach to respiratory disease in infants and children was distributed to all of the participants at the Annual Congress of the Italian Society of Pediatrics, together with a stamped envelope addressed to the trained study researchers. Results: Of the 900 distributed questionnaires, 76.7% were completed and returned by 606 physicians (199 primary care pediatricians, 245 hospital pediatricians, and 162 pediatric residents) and 84 pediatric nurses. The vast majority of the respondents did not know the percentage of hemoglobin saturation indicating hypoxemia that requires oxygen administration. Most of the nurses admitted to overusing mucolytics and inhalatory corticosteroids, did not know the role of ipratropium bromide, were unable to indicate the first-line drug for respiratory distress, and did not know the correct dose of salbutamol. Only a minority of the respondents were able to specify the indications for chest physiotherapy. The nurses gave the fewest correct answers regardless of their age, gender, work setting, or the frequency with which they cared for children with respiratory distress in a year cared. Conclusions: The knowledge of primary care pediatricians, hospital pediatricians, and pediatric nurses in Italy concerning the use of pulse oximetry, aerosol devices and drugs, and chest physiotherapy is far from satisfactory and should be improved. Educational programs are therefore required for both nurses and pediatricians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2011


  • aerosol devices
  • aerosol drugs
  • chest physiotherapy
  • children
  • oxygen
  • oxymetry
  • pediatrics
  • pulmonary drug delivery
  • respiratory medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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