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Wednesday 01 December 2004

Evaluation of nebulizer performance under various humidity conditions.

By: Zhou Y, Ahuja A, Irvin CM, Kracko D, McDonald JD, Cheng YS.

J Aerosol Med 2005 Fall;18(3):283-93

Jet nebulizers are a drug delivery tool commonly used for treating respiratory diseases. When a nebulizer generates aerosols, the rate at which droplets evaporate depends on humidity conditions around the nebulizer outlet. Because the relative humidity (RH) of the air affects the evaporation rate, the aerosol distribution and drug delivery dose is also affected by RH. Four nebulizers were chosen for comparison in this study: PARI LC Plus (PARI Respiratory Equipment, Inc., Midlothian, VA), SideStream (Medic-Aid Ltd., UK), VixOne (Westmed, Inc., Tucson, AZ), and Micromist (Hudson Respiratory Care Inc., Temecula, CA). Two different formulations were used: albuterol (liquid solution) and budesonide (suspension). Particle distribution (mass median aerodynamic diameter [MMAD] and geometric standard deviation [GSD]), nebulizer efficiency (total efficiency and respirable fraction [RF] efficiency for particles less than 4.7 microm), and dead volume (the amount of solution remaining after nebulization) were compared at the RH of 5%, 50%, and 80%. Our results showed that the MMAD increased (p value varied from <0.001 to 0.016) with the increase in RH, except for with the VixOne unit with albuterol (p = 0.24). The MMAD from the budesonide always appeared higher than from the albuterol. The RF (and thus, the inhalation dose) was lower with a higher RH. Except for the PARI LC Plus with budesonide, the RF decreased approximately 15-27% when the RH rose from 5% to 50%. For the PARI LC Plus nebulizer, the lower dead volume (0.22 mL) with higher residual drugs (62.3% of total drug) was obtained at an RH of 5% comparing the RH of 50% and 80% because of the unit's unique design.

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