Introduction: Aminoglycosides aerosolization might achieve better diffusion into the alveolar compartment than intravenous use. The objective of this multicenter study was to evaluate aerosol-delivered amikacin penetration into the alveolar epithelial lining fluid (ELF) using a new vibrating mesh nebulizer (Pulmonary Drug Delivery System (PDDS), Nektar Therapeutics), which delivers high doses to the lungs.Methods: Nebulized amikacin (400 mg bid) was delivered to the lungs of 28 mechanically ventilated patients with Gram-negative VAP for 7-14 days, adjunctive to intravenous therapy. On treatment day 3, 30 minutes after completing aerosol delivery, all the patients underwent bronchoalveolar lavage in the infection-involved area and the ELF amikacin concentration was determined. The same day, urine and serum amikacin concentrations were determined at different time points.Results: Median (range) ELF amikacin and maximum serum amikacin concentrations were 976.1 (135.7-16127.6) and 0.9 (0.62-1.73) μg/mL, respectively. The median total amount of amikacin excreted in urine during the first and second 12-hour collection on day 3 were 19 (12.21-28) and 21.2 (14.1-29.98) μg, respectively. During the study period, daily through amikacin measurements were below the level of nephrotoxicity. Sixty-four unexpected adverse events were reported, among which 2 were deemed possibly due to nebulized amikacin: one episode of worsening renal failure, and one episode of bronchospasm.Conclusions: PDDS delivery of aerosolized amikacin achieved very high aminoglycoside concentrations in ELF from radiography-controlled infection-involved zones, while maintaining safe serum amikacin concentrations. The ELF concentrations always exceeded the amikacin minimum inhibitory concentrations for Gram-negative microorganisms usually responsible for these pneumonias. The clinical impact of amikacin delivery with this system remains to be determined.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01021436. © 2009 Luyt et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.