The intrapulmonary percussive ventilation (IPV), frequently coupled with a nebulizer, is increasingly used as a physiotherapy technique; however, its physiologic and clinical values have been poorly studied. The aim of this study was to compare lung deposition of amikacin by the nebulizer of the IPV device (Percussionaire; Percussionaire Corporation; Sandpoint, ID) and that of standard jet nebulization (SST; SideStream; Medic-Aid; West Sussex, UK). Amikacin was nebulized with both devices in a group of five healthy subjects during spontaneous breathing. The deposition of amikacin was measured by urinary monitoring. Drug output of both devices was measured. Respiratory frequency (RF) was significantly lower when comparing the IPV device with SST (8.2 +/- 1.6 breaths/min vs. 12.6 +/- 2.5 breaths/min, p < 0.05). The total daily amount of amikacin excreted in the urine was significantly lower with IPV than with SST (0.8% initial dose vs. 5.6% initial dose, p < 0.001). Elimination halflife was identical with both devices. Drug output was lower with IPV than with SST. The amount of amikacin delivered to the lung is sixfold lower with IPV than with SST, although a lower respiratory frequency was adopted by the subjects with the IPV. Therefore, the IPV seems unfavorable for the nebulization of antibiotics.