Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Arzu Ari

Second Advisor

Robert Harwood

Third Advisor

Bryant Lawrence


BACKGROUND: Aerosol therapy using albuterol is one of the most prescribed asthma treatments. The most frequently used methods of aerosol delivery are pneumatic jet nebulizer (JN), pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI), and breath-actuated nebulizer (BAN). Choosing among these devices is usually not based on thorough comparison of efficiency or cost. We compare the efficiency of these three devices using a spontaneously breathing adult model.

METHODS: We connected each aerosol generator—JN, BAN, or pMDI with a valved holding chamber (VHC)—to the face of an adult teaching manikin. Below the bifurcation, an elbow adaptor was connected to a corrugated tube and was angled to be at a lower level than the collecting filter to prevent droplets from dripping directly into the collecting filter. From the collecting filter, another corrugated tube was connected to a prevention filter, which was then connected to an adult breathing simulator. Spontaneous breathing parameters were VT 450 mL, RR 20/min, and I: E ratio 1:2. First, we compared JN, BAN (2.5 mg/3 mL), and pMDI (4 puffs); second, we compared JN and BAN 2.5 mg/0.5 mL plus 0.5 mL normal saline. Data were analyzed using spectrophotometry (276 nm). One-way ANOVA and independent sample t-tests were used (p<0.05).

RESULTS: There were no differences in inhaled mass percentage (p=0.172) JN, BAN, and pMDI in the first experiment. Treatment time with BAN was significantly longer (p=0.0001) than with JN or pMDI. In the second experiment, BAN delivered more medication (p=0.004) than jet nebulizer. Treatment time was significantly less with JN (p=0.010). There was no difference in residual volume among JN and BAN in both experiment (p=0.765, p=0.115).

CONCLUSIONS: All the devices that were compared using a 3 ml or 4 pMDI puffs delivered comparable amount of medication with no significant difference. However, BAN using 1ml fill volume delivers more drug compared to JN. Additionally, treatment time was longest with BAN. Even with reduction of its filling volume, BAN delivers a higher amount of medication to that of pMDI but was not statistically significant.