Comparison of the effects of heat and moisture exchangers and heated humidifiers on ventilation and gas exchange during non-invasive ventilation

Intensive Care Med. 2002 Nov;28(11):1590-4. doi: 10.1007/s00134-002-1441-0. Epub 2002 Sep 6.


Objective: To compare the short-term effects of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) and a heated humidifier (HH) during non-invasive ventilation (NIV).

Design: Prospective, clinical investigation.

Setting: Intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients: Twenty-four patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF).

Intervention: Each patient was studied with a HME and a HH in a random order during two consecutive 20min periods of NIV.

Measurements and results: Respiratory rate (RR), expiratory tidal volume (VTe) and expiratory minute ventilation (VE) were measured during the last 5 min of each period and blood gases were measured. Mean pressure support and positive end-expiratory pressure levels were, respectively, 15+/-4 and 6+/-2 cmH(2)O. VE was significantly greater with HME than with HH (14.8+/-4.8 vs 13.2+/-4.3 l/min; p<0.001). This increase in VE was the result of a greater RR for HME than for HH (26.5+/-10.6 vs 24.1+/-9.8 breaths/min; p=0.002), whereas the VT for HME was similar to that for HH (674+/-156 vs 643+/-148 ml; p=0.09). Arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO(2)) was significantly higher with a HME than with a HH (43.4+/-8.9 vs 40.8+/-8.2 mmHg; p<0.005), without significantly changing oxygenation.

Conclusion: During NIV the increased dead space of a HME can negatively affect ventilatory function and gas exchange. The effect of HME dead space may decrease efficiency of NIV in patients with ARF.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Dead Space
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric