Factors Determining in Vitro Lung Deposition of Albuterol Aerosol Delivered by Ventolin Metered-Dose Inhaler

Rajoshi Biswas, Nicola A. Hanania, Ashutosh Sabharwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: The effectiveness of metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) in delivering medication to the lungs highly depends on its correct usage technique. Current guidelines state optimal technique for high lung deposition should include a slow inhalation (>5 seconds) at an inspiratory flow rate of 30 L/min and inhaler actuation at the start of inhalation. However, these recommendations were based on clinical studies using CFC (chlorofluorocarbon)-MDIs and in vitro studies of HFA (hydrofluoroalkane)-MDIs using idealized MDI techniques of uniform inhalation and actuation, disregarding the nonuniform techniques of actual patients. Methods: To better understand the effects of time-varying MDI usage parameters on lung deposition of aerosol delivered by an HFA-MDI, we conducted an in vitro study modeled on real-life variable inspiratory flow and actuation techniques recorded from 15 subjects with asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We developed a model representing the time-varying inspiratory flow waveforms and actuation timings based on 43 MDI techniques recorded from patients. Furthermore, we constructed an in vitro experimental setup using a mouth-throat cast, programmable MDI actuator, and breath simulator to evaluate lung deposition for the MDI techniques derived from our model. Results: High inspiratory flow rates, 60-90 L/min, consistently resulted in high in vitro lung deposition (>40%) of aerosol (albuterol delivered from Ventolin HFA-MDI) compared to 30 L/min when MDI actuation occurred in the first half of inhalation. Also, positive coordination resulted in higher in vitro lung deposition compared with negative or zero coordination (actuating before or at the start of inspiration). Furthermore, variation in coordination affected lung deposition more significantly (23%) than flow rate or duration of inspiration (≤5%). Conclusions: In an in vitro experimental model based on inhalation data from patients with asthma and COPD, we demonstrated that aerosol lung deposition emitted from Ventolin HFA-MDI is most optimal for MDI actuation in the first half of inspiration at high flow rates (60-90 L/min).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • COPD
  • aerosol
  • asthma
  • inhaler technique
  • lung deposition
  • metered-dose inhaler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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