The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

PERFORMANCE OF SEVEN SMALL VOLUME NEBULIZERS AT THREE DIFFERENT FLOWRATES JOHN M HUGHES RRT M ED AE-C, TARA STEPHENS BS CRT, AND CHRISTIE FORSMAN BS CRT

John M. Hughes1, Christy E. Forsman1, Tara L. Stephens1



Background: Patients with respiratory diseases benefit from the delivery of aerosolized medication via a small volume nebulizer (SVN). There are many different models of SVN available that exhibit a variety of performance characteristics.

Objectove: Investigate the rate of aerosol delivery, time to the onset of sputtering and dead volume of seven currently available models.

Methods: Utilizing a ventilator-driven spontaneous breathing lung model, the rate of delivery (mg/L), sputter time (sec.), and dead volume (ml) were analyzed. Eighteen samples of seven currently available models were filled with 3000 mg of water and operated in groups of six at 6, 8, and 10 L/min respectively. They were weighed initially and following each minute of aerosol production until they sputtered. Final weight was determined after operating each SVN for one minute following the minute in which each began to sputter. The mg weight decrement following each minute was divided by the number of liters of gas used during each respective minute to determine rate of delivery.

Results: The Westmed Vixone and Airlife Sidestream High-Efficiency exhibited the smallest dead volume depending on gas flowrate (p<0.05). At 8 L/min the Salter Labs 8900 began to sputter in the shortest time and generally produced the highest rate of aerosol delivery (p<0.01).

Conclusion: The design variables in the SVNs tested produced substantial differences in dead volume, nebulization time and rate of delivery. Although there was consistent performance among the trials of each individual model, it was apparent that there were significant design-related performance differences between these seven different SVN models.