The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Robert L. Chatburn, Steven Zhou; Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

BACKGROUND: The performance of pneumatic jet aerosol nebulizers varies greatly among different brands. Key performance indices include efficiency and treatment time. Efficiency is important to drug delivery and hence quality of care. Treatment time is of interest because it greatly affects staff productivity. The purpose of this study was to compare nebulizers currently used or being evaluated in the Cleveland Clinic Health System with the intent to standardize on a benchmark device. Our hypotheses were that treatment time varies among the devices tested and that a most efficient device could be identified. METHODS: Nebulizers evaluated were: VixOne (Westmed), Sidestream (CareFusion), Mistymax (Airlife), NebuTech (Salter Labs), and Intersurgical (Ciruss). Breathing was modeled using an ASL 5000 (Ingmar Medical) lung simulator; sinusoidal half-wave flow pump, tidal volume = 500 mL, frequency = 15/min. Nebulizer source flow was 8 L/min. Data were collected every 15 breaths for each nebulizer. Aerosol was collected on a HEPA filter and aerosol delivery quantified by weight changes of nebulizer and filter (Journal of Aerosol Medicine 2004:17:63-71). Nebulization was stopped after the cumulative inhaled aerosol peaked (see Figure). Efficiencies were calculated as previously described;Respir Care 2007;52(8):1037–1050. RESULTS: Summary data are shown in the table. The Nebutech showed the best performance characteristics but was also the most expensive device. CONCLUSIONS: We have confirmed data from other studies showing that nebulizers vary greatly in aerosol delivery performance. Yet these devices are considered by clinicians to give the same treatments. Important improvements in both quality and efficiency of aerosol treatment practice can be achieved by proper selection of nebulizer. Sponsored Research - None