Variation in pediatric aerosol delivery: importance of facemask

J Aerosol Med. 2005 Fall;18(3):354-63. doi: 10.1089/jam.2005.18.354.


We have quantified in vitro the influence of the facemask on the amount of drug delivered (e.g., inhaled mass) by jet nebulizer and pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI) valved holding chamber (VHC) combinations (non-detergent-coated and detergent-coated). Pediatric breathing patterns were used with a breathing simulator, which was connected to a face onto which each device was positioned. An inhaled mass filter interposed between the simulator and the face captured the aerosolized drug. Budesonide inhalation suspension (0.25 mg) was used with the jet nebulizers and fluticasone propionate (220 microg) pMDI with the VHCs. Maximal drug delivery was measured using constant flow through each device. Breathing pattern effects were assessed for sealed devices (no leaks) and with facemasks (possible leaks at the facemask). Inhaled mass from both nebulizers and pMDI VHCs was affected by breathing pattern, but compared to nebulizers the pMDI VHCs were significantly more variable and sensitive to several factors. The influence of VHC conditioning combined with effects of breathing pattern resulted in the inhaled mass ranging from 0.7 +/- 0.5 to 53.3 +/- 6.2%. Nebulizers were less variable (9.6 +/- 0.7 to 24.3 +/- 3.1%). Detergent coating of VHC markedly increased the inhaled mass and reproducibility of drug delivery (27.2 +/- 1.4 to 53.3 +/- 6.2%) for pMDI VHC combinations, but these effects were lost in the presence of facemasks. Using pediatric patterns of breathing, nebulizer/facemask combinations delivered 4.1 +/- 0.8 to 19.3 +/- 2.3% of the label dose while pMDI and detergent-coated VHC delivered 4.0 +/- 1.6 to 28.6 +/- 2.5%. Facemask seal is a key factor in drug delivery. Leaks around the facemask reduce drug delivery and for pMDI VHCs can negate effects of detergent coating.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Androstadienes / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Budesonide / administration & dosage*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry
  • Computer Simulation
  • Detergents / chemistry
  • Equipment Design
  • Filtration / instrumentation
  • Fluticasone
  • Humans
  • Masks*
  • Metered Dose Inhalers
  • Models, Biological
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Respiration
  • Rheology
  • Surface Properties


  • Aerosols
  • Androstadienes
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Detergents
  • Budesonide
  • Fluticasone