A novel approach to study the pMDI plume using an infrared camera and to evaluate the aerodynamic properties after varying the time between actuations
Plume characteristics, such as temperature and velocity, emitted from pMDIs could significantly affect the dose delivered to the lung. Currently, high speed cameras and thermocouples are used separately to evaluate these parameters. We used a low-noise infrared camera to evaluate both the temperature and velocity of the emitted plume from pMDIs. Additionally, we investigated whether the fine particle fraction (FPF) is affected when time between actuations is varied. We tested three different albuterol sulfate pMDIs: ProAir® HFA, Proventil® HFA, and Ventolin® HFA. The plume and aerodynamic characteristics from these pMDIs were evaluated, after varying the time between actuations (15, 30, 60, and 120 s), using the infrared camera and a next generation impactor, respectively. The aerodynamic characteristics were evaluated with and without a valved holding chamber (VHC). ProAir HFA had the softest plume followed by Proventil HFA and Ventolin HFA. Further, Ventolin HFA was slightly cooler and had significantly lower FPF than ProAir HFA and Proventil HFA. All inhalers had higher FPF when used with VHC. Further, we observed that the time between actuations affected the FPF across pMDIs. Moreover, generalized guidelines suggesting one-minute interval between actuations for pMDIs should be reconsidered, with and without a VHC.