Comparative study of simulated nebulized and spray particle deposition in chronic rhinosinusitis patients

Zainab Farzal, Saikat Basu, Alyssa Burke, Olulade O. Fasanmade, Erin M. Lopez, William D. Bennett, Charles S. Ebert, Adam M. Zanation, Brent A. Senior, Julia S. Kimbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Topical intranasal drugs are widely prescribed for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), although delivery can vary with device type and droplet size. The study objective was to compare nebulized and sprayed droplet deposition in the paranasal sinuses and ostiomeatal complex (OMC) across multiple droplet sizes in CRS patients using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Methods: Three-dimensional models of sinonasal cavities were constructed from computed tomography (CT) scans of 3 subjects with CRS refractory to medical therapy using imaging software. Assuming steady-state inspiratory airflow at resting rate, CFD was used to simulate 1-µm to 120-µm sprayed droplet deposition in the left and right sinuses and OMC with spray nozzle positioning as in current nasal spray use instructions. Zero-velocity nebulization simulations were performed for 1-µm to 30-µm droplet sizes, maximal sinus and OMC deposition fractions (MSDF) were obtained, and sizes that achieved at least 50% of MSDF were identified. Nebulized MSDF was compared to sprayed droplet deposition. We also validated CFD framework through in vitro experiments. Results: Among nebulized droplet sizes, 11-µm to 14-µm droplets achieved at least 50% of MSDF in all 6 sinonasal cavities. Four of 6 sinonasal cavities had greater sinus and OMC deposition with nebulized droplets than with sprayed droplets at optimal sizes. Conclusion: Nebulized droplets may target the sinuses and OMC more effectively than sprayed particles at sizes achieving best deposition. Further studies are needed to confirm our preliminary findings. Several commercial nasal nebulizers have average particle sizes outside the optimal nebulized droplet size range found here, suggesting potential for product enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-758
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • intranasal steroids
  • nebulizer
  • topical drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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