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BACKGROUND: Many in vitro models report higher inhaled dose with dry versus heated humidity. Heat-and-moisture exchangers (HMEs) provide passive humidity in ventilator-dependent patients but act as a barrier to aerosol. The HMEs designed to allow aerosol delivery (HME-ADs) have not been well described. The purpose of this study is to determine the impact on aerosol deposition of HME-ADs with and without active exhaled humidity in a simulated ventilator-dependent adult model.
METHODS: We used an in vitro lung model consisting of an intubated teaching mannequin with an endotracheal tube of 8.0 mm inner diameter with bronchi directly attached to a collecting filter and passive rubber test lung to provide testing without active exhaled humidity. To simulate exhaled humidity, a Cascade humidifier (37°C and 100% relative humidity) was placed between the collecting filter and test lung, simulating body temperature and pressure saturated exhaled humidity at the bronchi. Albuterol sulfate (2.5 mg/3 mL) was administered with a mesh nebulizer (Aerogen Solo) placed in the inspiratory limb of the ventilator circuit at the Y-piece, with no HME in place (control) and with 3 HME-AD devices, including the CircuVent, Humid-Flo, and AirLife, with and without exhaled humidity. Drug was eluted from the collecting filter and analyzed with spectrophotometry. Student t tests and analysis of variance were used for data analysis (P < .05).
RESULTS: The percentage of drug dose delivered (mean ± SD) distal to the bronchi in the control experiments was greater than all of the HME-ADs without exhaled humidity 18 ± 0.7 and with active exhaled humidity 10.8 ± 0.2% (P < .005). Without exhaled humidity, aerosol delivery with the CircuVent (12.6 ± 0.8), Humid-Flo (15.3 ± 0.8), and AirLife (12.0 ± 0.5) was less than control (P < .001, P = .01 and P < .001, respectively). In contrast, with exhaled humidity, no difference was found between control and HME-ADs (P = .89). Also, a greater variation between control and the 3 HME-ADs was observed without exhaled humidity. Drug delivery without exhaled humidity exceeded aerosol deposition obtained with exhaled humidity in all conditions tested in this study.
CONCLUSIONS: In this model simulating active exhaled humidity, aerosol drug delivery was lower and more consistent with both control and the HME-ADs than with the standard nonhumidified model. Further studies are needed to determine whether greater deposition in a dry model is an artifact of the model that does not simulate exhaled humidity.
- Correspondence: Arzu Ari PhD RRT PT CPFT FAARC, Department of Respiratory Therapy, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 4019, Atlanta, GA 30302-4019. E-mail: .
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