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Nebulisation of surfactants in an animal model of neonatal respiratory distress
  1. Tai Fai Foka,
  2. Mazen Al-Essaa,
  3. Myrna Dolovichb,
  4. Farid Rasidc,
  5. Haresh Kirpalania
  1. aDepartment of Paediatrics, bDepartment of Medicine, cDepartment of Nuclear Medicine McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  1. Dr H Kirpalani Department of Paediatrics McMaster University 1200 Main Street West Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.


AIMS To evaluate pulmonary deposition and gas exchange following nebulisation of two surfactants by either a jet or an ultrasonic nebuliser.

METHOD After bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), 19 rabbits were ventilated in four groups. Group A1 (n=5) and A2 (n=6) received Technetium-99m labelled Exosurf, and groups B1 (n=4) and B2 (n=4) received radiolabelled Survanta. Groups A1 and B1 received jet nebuliser therapy, whereas groups A2 and B2 received ultrasonic nebuliser. Pulmonary deposition, distribution, and blood gases were determined.

RESULTS Pulmonary deposition as per cent of initial dose and mg lipid) was 0.28(0.10)% or 0.59(0.21) mg in group A1, 1.05(0.23)% or 2.21(0.48) mg in group A2, 0.08(0.02)% or 0.30(0.08) mg in group B1, and 0.09(0.02)% or 0.34(0.08) mg in group B2. Deposition in group A2 was greater than in other groups (p= 0.001). Group A2 showed a small improvement in blood gases.

CONCLUSIONS Even the highest deposition—ultrasonic nebuliser witosurf—achieved limited clinical effect. The aerosol route is currently not effective for surfactant treatment.

  • surfactant
  • nebuliser
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • rabbits

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