Identification and Validation of Nebulized Aerosol Devices for Sputum Induction

BACKGROUND: Induced sputum cell counts are a noninvasive and reliable method for evaluating the presence, type and degree of airway inflammation in patients with asthma. Currently, standard nebulizer devices used for sputum induction in multiple patients are labelled as single-patient devices by the manufacturer, which conflicts with infection prevention and control requirements. As such, these devices cannot feasibly be used in a clinical sputum induction program. Therefore, there is a need to identify alternative nebulizer devices that are either disposable or labelled for multi-patient use.OBJECTIVE: To apply validated rigorous, scientific testing methods to identify and validate commercially available nebulizer devices appropriate for use in a clinical sputum induction program.METHODS: Measurement of nebulized aerosol output and size for the selected nebulizer designs followed robust International Organization for Standardization methods. Sputum induction using two of these nebulizers was successfully performed on 10 healthy adult subjects. The cytotechnologist performing sputum cell counts was blinded to the type of nebulizer used.RESULTS: The studied nebulizers had variable aerosol outputs. The AeroNeb Solo (Aerogen, Ireland), Omron NE-U17 (Omron, Japan) and EASYneb II (Flaem Nuova, Italy) systems were found to have similar measurements of aerosol size. There was no significant difference in induced sputum cell results between the AeroNeb Solo and EASYneb II devices.DISCUSSION: There is a need for rigorous, scientific evaluation of nebulizer devices for clinical applications, including sputum induction, for measurement of cell counts.CONCLUSION: The present study was the most comprehensive analysis of different nebulizer devices for sputum induction to measure cell counts, and provides a framework for appropriate evaluation of nebulizer devices for induced sputum testing.
Warren J Davidson, John Dennis, Stephanie The, Belinda Litoski, Cora Pieron, and Richard Leigh, “Identification and Validation of Nebulized Aerosol Devices for Sputum Induction,” Canadian Respiratory Journal, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 101-106, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/925305