Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire, Ed.D, RRT-NPS

Second Advisor

Chip Zimmerman, M.S., RRT-NPS


Aerosol administration via small-volume nebulizers are still being used by selected patient-population. In the economic market, several nebulizer designs have become available, with each incorporating unique features that will potentially establish it as the preferred choice in aerosol delivery. With the continuous rising cost of health care services, clinicians are faced with the task of identifying opportunities for cost reduction in respiratory care. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of dosimetric nebulization using the Circulaire system and the traditional VixOne nebulizer. The desired outcome was to elevate awareness of the potential impact of the Circulaire, and how its adoption might reduce costs and enhance productivity in respiratory care. METHODS: A retrospective study using existing data collected from an urban tertiary adult hospital with a Level II Trauma Center was completed. DATA ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics were run for each variable. The total cost of a full-time Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) with benefits per hour was calculated. The average number of RRTs per 12-hour shift, average number of nebulizer treatments by an RRT per 12-hour shift, average costs of traditional VixOne nebulizer and the Circulaire system were also calculated. RESULTS: Descriptive statistics indicated the annual cost of delivering aerosol therapy using the traditional VixOne nebulizer at 9-minutes treatment time to be $114,263.25 per year. The Circulaire was compared at two different treatment times of 5-minutes and 3-minutes, and the annual costs were $137,422.50 per year and $116,982.50 respectively. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted, and the treatment load was increased by 30%, with a reduction to 5 RRTs per shift. Data indicated an annual savings of 8% with the Circulaire at 5-minutes treatment time, and 21% with the Circulaire at 3-minutes treatment time. CONCLUSION: The use of the Circulaire system at 5-minutes or 3-minutes treatment time can reduce department expenditure by reducing labor costs.