Application Note

Making Patient Monitoring More Intelligent With Ultrasonic Measurement Technology

Source: PI (Physik Instrumente) LP

Chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, or the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but also bronchitis and the flu necessitate a comprehensive medical treatment. Medical nebulizers atomize medication so very finely that it can be inhaled very deeply into the lungs, therefore, making the therapy of sometimes life-threatening lung diseases possible. Conventionally, such medication is administered with jet nebulizers. In this case, pressurized air atomizes the inhalation solution into minute droplets. An alternative method uses piezo technology in so-called mesh nebulizers to generate finest aerosols.

Aerosol generation with an eFlow® Technology nebulizer (Image: PARI Pharma GmbH)

The piezo-operated aerosol generation provides numerous advantages for the precise dosing of medication, which is key to a successful therapy: High-quality medication can be administered in a more targeted manner. Compared to jet nebulizers, mesh nebulizers make it possible for a larger portion of the medication to be inhaled more effectively and deeply into the lungs. Because of the increased efficiency of the mesh nebulizers, but also because of the smaller residual quantity of the medication solution remaining in the device, smaller amounts of the very expensive medication is necessary for atomization. Therefore, the risk of side effects is also significantly reduced.

In mesh nebulizers, specially shaped piezo rings act as ultrasonic transducers and excite a metal membrane, which has several thousands of holes, to high-frequency vibrations. These vibrations produce particularly homogenous aerosols without heating up the medication. In the process, the protein structure of the modern drugs, which are sometimes very complex, are only subjected to low shear forces since they pass the membrane only once during atomization. Therefore, these macromolecules retain their biological activity and so give access to innovative therapy concepts.

Mesh nebulizers require far less time to atomize medication than conventional systems. The high-frequency operation is noiseless for humans and the low energy requirement of the piezo components enables their use in battery-powered inhalation devices. This means an increase in quality of life, especially for patients with chronic respiratory diseases who have to inhale frequently. Piezoceramic components also master the special hygiene requirements that medical technology brings with it – piezoelectric aerosol generators are suitable for professional cleaning.