Development of the premature infant nose throat-model (PrINT-Model): an upper airway replica of a premature neonate for the study of aerosol delivery

Pediatr Res. 2008 Aug;64(2):141-6. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318175dcfa.


Clinical efficacy of aerosol therapy in premature newborns depends on the efficiency of delivery of aerosolized drug to the bronchial tree. To study the influence of various anatomical, physical, and physiological factors on aerosol delivery in preterm newborns, it is crucial to have appropriate in vitro models, which are currently not available. We therefore constructed the premature infant nose throat-model (PrINT-Model), an upper airway model corresponding to a premature infant of 32-wk gestational age by three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of a three-planar magnetic resonance imaging scan and subsequent 3D-printing. Validation was realized by visual comparison and comparison of total airway volume. To study the feasibility of measuring aerosol deposition, budesonide was aerosolized through the cast and lung dose was expressed as percentage of nominal dose. The airway volumes of the initial magnetic resonance imaging and validation computed tomography scan showed a relative deviation of 0.94%. Lung dose at low flow (1 L/min) was 61.84% and 9.00% at high flow (10 L/min), p < 0.0001. 3D-reconstruction provided an anatomically accurate surrogate of the upper airways of a 32-wk-old premature infant, making the model suitable for future in vitro testing.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Nose / anatomy & histology*
  • Pharynx / anatomy & histology*
  • Respiratory System / anatomy & histology