Administration of drugs via the airway is increasingly practiced in ICU- and surgical patients. For this purpose, aerosols may be produced by either jet nebulization or ultrasonic droplet generation. In mechanically ventilated patients, aerosol delivery is often insufficient. The influence of the ventilatory pattern on nebulizer efficacy is poorly understood. In the present in vitro study we determined the efficacy of a new ultrasonic nebulizer in delivering aerosolized epoprostenol using defined ventilator settings. We determined aerosol delivery rates, the aerosol droplet size distribution and the impact of the connection tubing on drug delivery, applying adult and infant ventilation patterns. Aerosol production rates ranged from 0.28 to 0.57 ml per minute. Using an adult ventilator setting volume controlled ventilation (CMV) led to a higher aerosol production rate than pressure controlled ventilation (PCV) at identical tidal volumes and mean airway pressures (0.57 ml/min,CMV vs 0.39 ml/min, PCV). With an infant ventilator setting, nebulizer rates were lower than those found for the adult ventilator setting, but did not differ substantially between CMV and PCV mode (0.29 ml/min, CMV vs 0.28 ml/min, PCV). Aerosol delivery rates distal to the endotracheal tube changed according to aerosol production rates (adult mode: 0.18 ml/min, CMV vs 0.10 ml/min, PCV; infant mode: 0.03 ml/min, both CMV and PCV). In the infant ventilation mode, a higher percentage of the aerosol was trapped in the catheter mount as compared to the adult ventilation mode. Mass median droplet diameters for each of the four ventilator settings were almost identical (4.63 to 5.09 micron) and smaller than indicated in the product specifications (8 micron). Delivery rates and sizes of droplets delivered by the new ultrasonic nebulizer SUN 345(R) agree well with previously reported data from comparable settings using diverse nebulizer devices.