There is much interest in the use of holding chambers with an attached facemask to deliver aerosols from metered dose inhalers to infants. In order to study the influence of various design factors on the dose inhaled at different tidal volumes, a model was constructed in which a Starling ventilator was used to generate an inspiratory/expiratory cycle across a filter. Sodium cromoglycate was administered via a Nebuhaler and mask, Aerochamber and mask, and a coffee cup using tidal volumes of 25, 50, and 150 ml and the dose deposited upon the filter after six breaths was assayed using an ultraviolet spectrophotometric method. At the lowest tidal volume the high aerosol concentration in the smaller chamber enhanced drug delivery while at the highest tidal volume delivery was greatest from the larger chamber reflecting the larger dose available. Multiple breaths ensured that the dose inhaled per kilogram from each chamber was relatively large and also permitted significant drug delivery despite the introduction of a relatively large dead space between valve and filter. The dose delivered was increased by increasing the dose introduced into the chamber though not proportionately. These devices appear likely to deliver significant quantities of aerosol to infants, though drug delivery may be enhanced by the use of an appropriate valve.
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