The Sophia Anatomical Infant Nose-Throat (Saint) model: a valuable tool to study aerosol deposition in infants

J Aerosol Med. 2001 Winter;14(4):433-41. doi: 10.1089/08942680152744640.


Relatively little is known about the variables that influence lung deposition of inhaled aerosols in children. A model of the upper airways of an infant could be a useful tool to study these variables in vitro. The objective of this study was to construct an anatomically correct model of the upper airways of a young child. A routine three-dimensional (3D) CT scan of the skull and neck of a child was selected that included the airway from the nasal cavity down to the subglottic region. The CT scan was edited to obtain an anatomically correct distinction between air and mucosa. Next, a model was constructed with a stereolithographic technique using a UV-sensitive resin. To validate the model, a 3D CT scan of the model was made and compared to the anatomy of the original image. To study aerosol deposition, the model was connected to a breathing simulator. Medical aerosols were delivered to the model by MDI/spacer during stimulated breathing. An upper airway model was made of a 9-month-old child that needed reconstructive surgery for a skull deformity and with normal anatomy of the upper airways. The nasal airway of the model was open for air passage and the oral airway was closed. The CT scan of the model matched the original in vivo CT scan closely. Aerosol deposition measurements showed that dose passing the model, or lung dose, was comparable with in vivo lung deposition data. We have constructed an anatomically correct model of the upper airways of a child, using a stereolithographic method for in vitro studies of aerosol deposition in young children. This model will be used to obtain insight in aerosol treatment that cannot be obtained in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Budesonide / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Nose*
  • Particle Size
  • Pharynx*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Aerosols
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Budesonide