Study objective: To determine albuterol delivery by metered-dose inhaler (MDI) in an in vitro pediatric mechanical ventilatory circuit model. The influence of a spacing device, endotracheal tube (ETT) diameter and length, and air humidity was also investigated.
Design: An albuterol MDI canister was connected to an AeroVent spacer or Airlife MDI adapter and ETT 4.0, 5.0, or 6.0 mm at commercially available and equal lengths. The ETT tip was attached to an in-line filter holder with a 1-microns type A/E glass fiber filter. Ventilator settings were fractional concentration of inspired oxygen 50%, tidal volume 250 ml, inspiratory:expiratory (I:E) ratio 1:3, rate 25 breaths/minute, temperature 35 degrees C, and a decelerating flow pattern. Ten albuterol canisters were activated two times each (total 2000 micrograms) into dry (4.0-, 5.0-, and 6.0-mm ETT) and humidified air (4.0- and 6.0-mm ETT) and repeated in triplicate. Percentage MDI output was determined by weighing the filter before and after drug administration (balance sensitivity 10 micrograms). Significant differences (p < or = 0.05) among the groups with and without a spacer and in dry and humidified air were determined by ANOVA with Scheffe's multiple comparison test. Multiple regression was used to determine significant associations between ETT diameter and length and delivery.
Main results: With the AeroVent spacer in humidified air, delivery with the 4.0- and 6.0-mm ETT was approximately 2.3% and 5%, respectively. The spacer and dry air significantly improved delivery.
Conclusions: In humidified air, the dose of albuterol by MDI with an AeroVent spacer should be doubled for children intubated with 6.0-mm ETT, and four puffs administered for every one puff desired for 4.0-mm ETT. The results of this investigation should prove useful in initial clinical trials of albuterol MDI in ventilator-dependent infants and children.