Does upper airway deformation affect drug deposition?

Shaokoon Cheng, Agisilaos Kourmatzis, Taye Mekonnen, Hanieh Gholizadeh, Joel Raco, Lan Chen, Patricia Tang, Hak-Kim Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge that enables the accurate simulation of drug deposition in the human upper airway is necessary to develop robust platforms for efficient drug delivery by inhalation devices. The human upper airway is deformable during inhalation but how it could affect the deposition of inhaled drugs is unknown. We aimed to determine whether pharyngeal deformation at the soft palate level would have any significant effects on throat deposition, in vitro lung dose and fine particle fraction. In this study, dry mannitol powders were delivered to the next-generation cascade impactor (NGI) through the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) throat, and a realistic upper airway cast (RUPAC) at flow rates of 40, 60 and 80 L min−1. Deformation of the upper airway at 25%, 50%, and 75% in the lateral and antero-posterior directions were experimentally simulated in the RUPAC. Throat deposition (p = 0.04) is significantly affected when the upper airway deforms laterally but not antero-posteriorly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118773
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2019


  • Pharynx collapse
  • Upper airway deformation
  • Throat deposition
  • In vitro lung dose
  • Fine particle fraction

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