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Chest. 2011 Sep;140(3):781-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-2068.

Aerosol therapy for obstructive lung diseases: device selection and practice management issues.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Inhaled aerosol therapies are the mainstay of treatment of obstructive lung diseases. Aerosol devices deliver drugs rapidly and directly into the airways, allowing high local drug concentrations while limiting systemic toxicity. While numerous clinical trials, literature reviews, and expert panel guidelines inform the choice of inhalational drugs, deciding which aerosol device (ie, metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer, or dry powder inhaler) best suits a given patient and clinical setting can seem arbitrary and confusing. Similar confusion regarding Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding for administration of aerosol therapies can lead to lost revenue from underbilling and wasted administrative effort handling denied claims. This article reviews the aerosol devices currently available, discusses their relative merits in various clinical settings, and summarizes appropriate CPT coding for aerosol therapy.

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