Deposition of aqueous aerosol of technetium-99m diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid generated and delivered by a novel system (AERx) in healthy subjects
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Deposition of technetium-99m diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid aqueous radioaerosols generated by a novel aerosol delivery system (AERx) was studied in six healthy subjects using both planar and single-photon emission tomography (SPET) imaging. AERx is a microprocessor-controlled, bolus inhalation device that is actuated at pre-programmed values of inspiratory flow rate and volume. The aims of the study were to determine the effects of posture and inhaled volume upon deposition of the aerosol in the lungs. Each subject inhaled the radioaerosol in two positions (supine vs sitting) and with two inspiratory manoeuvres [vital capacity (VC) vs ”fixed volume” of 1 l above functional residual capacity]. Simultaneous transmission-emission planar and tomographic images were acquired. The results showed diffuse deposition of the aerosol in the lung. Neither the breathing manoeuvre nor the posture was found to affect the distribution of the aerosol as measured by the ratio of the activity (counts per pixel) in the peripheral:central (penetration index, PI) or in the apex:base regions of the planar lung images (P>0.1). A small, albeit statistically significant, difference in PI (P<0.03) was found between VC and fixed volume sitting manoeuvres with SPET only. The PI values themselves indicate that the radioaerosol was well distributed in the lung, with the periphery having 45%–64% of the activity of the central region. Superposition of transmission SPET lung outline on emission SPET visually confirmed the excellent peripheral deposition of the aerosol. The AERx system showed high efficiency of delivery, with approximately 50% of the extruded dose in the device depositing in the lung. The uniformity of radioactivity distributed throughout the lung is attributed to the fine particle size (mass median aerodynamic diameter of 2 µm) of the aerosol and the electronic control of aerosol inhalation by the device. In conclusion, the AERx system can be ideal for diffuse aerosol deposition of therapeutic or diagnostic agents and is largely unaffected by inhaled volume and posture. The efficiency of the device device can limit the total radiation exposure of patients and staff administering the radioaerosols, and can make it suitable for delivery of expensive drugs.
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