Aerosol deposition in infants with cystic fibrosis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1996 May;21(5):276-81. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0496(199605)21:5<276::AID-PPUL2>3.0.CO;2-L.


Twenty asymptomatic infants with cystic fibrosis (CF) were studied to determine the amount of radiolabeled aerosol [99m technetium diethylenetriamine penta acetic acid (Tc99m DTPA)] deposited in the respiratory system and its distribution. Aerosols were generated by jet nebulization systems that were used in the wards and the laboratory. Subjects were studied in three groups: group A (n = 10) was sedated with chloral hydrate; children inhaled an aerosol of 7.7 microns mass median diameter (MMD); group B (n = 5) was not sedated, using the same nebulization system (same aerosol particle size as group A); and group C (n = 5) was not sedated; these children inhaled an aerosol with an MMD of 3.6 microns. Normal saline plus 4 mCi of Tc99m bound to DTPA was added to each nebulizer. A closed system was used to collect the expired aerosol. Radioactivity in each infant and in the equipment was measured with a gamma camera on completion of nebulization. In groups A and B, the percentages of the total dose deposited in the lung were 0.97 +/- 0.35% and 0.76 +/- 0.36%, respectively. In group C, 2.0 +/- 0.71% was deposited in the lung (P < 0.01). Deposition in the nose, mouth, and pharynx was least in group C (P < 0.01). In groups A and B, the intrathoracic deposition occurred predominantly in the trachea and main bronchi, whereas in group C, significantly more aerosol was deposited in the lung region. There was marked inter-subject variability in the percentage of aerosol deposition within the three groups. There was no correlation between percentage of aerosol deposited in the respiratory system and age, height, or weight. Sedation did not have a significant effect on deposition of aerosol in infants. This study indicates that only a small proportion of nebulized solution is deposited in the lungs of infants and that this proportion is influenced by the particle size of the aerosol. The smaller particle size (3.6 microns MMD) was deposited in the lung better than large particles.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Conscious Sedation
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Particle Size
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate / pharmacokinetics*


  • Aerosols
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate