Albuterol delivery via metered dose inhaler in a spontaneously breathing pediatric tracheostomy model

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2013 Oct;48(10):1026-34. doi: 10.1002/ppul.22715. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Rationale: Little data are available regarding efficiency of drug delivery devices and techniques despite their widespread use in spontaneously breathing tracheostomized patients. We compared patient dose achieved with different devices, inhalation techniques, tracheostomy tube sizes and breathing patterns using a spontaneously breathing tracheostomized pediatric model.

Methods: A tracheostomy model was connected in series to a breathing simulator with a filter interposed (patient dose). Breathing patterns of a 16-month-old and a 6- and 12-year-old child with tracheostomy with internal diameters (mm) of 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 were used. Albuterol HFAp MDI was used. Aerotrach Plus, MediBag, Aerochamber MV, Aerochamber Mini, and inline adapter with 6-inch tubing were tested. The latter 3 devices were also tested with assisted technique. Albuterol was analyzed via spectrophotometry.

Results: Aerotrach Plus outperformed almost all devices tested. Aerochamber MV with unassisted technique was the second best and the adapter was the worst. Comparison of efficiency between best and worst performer ranged from 3- to 17.2-fold. The 16-month-old breathing pattern and the 3.5 mm tracheostomy tube had the lowest patient dose. The use of assisted technique decreased patient dose by 18-67% for the 4.5 and 5.5 mm but not for 3.5 mm tracheostomy tubes. A median of 7.4% of the nominal dose was deposited in the tracheostomy tubes.

Conclusions: Aerotrach Plus and the adapter were the most and least efficient devices respectively. Tracheostomy size and breathing pattern affected drug delivery. The use of assisted technique reduced aerosol delivery.

Keywords: children; delivery device; metered dose inhaler; spacer; tracheostomy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Albuterol / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Metered Dose Inhalers
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Respiration
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Tracheostomy


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Albuterol