Objective/hypothesis: Heat and moisture exchangers (HME) are frequently used in the treatment and prevention of tracheobronchial dryness and infections. In this study, the short-term influence of the HME Prim-Air System (Heimomed, Kerpen, Germany) in laryngectomized patients was tested.
Study design: Prospective study.
Methods: After adaptation to the laboratory environment, tracheal humidity and temperature were measured before HME application, 1 minute after HME application, 10 minutes after HME application, 1 minute after removal of the HME, and 10 minutes after removal of the HME.
Results: When the HME was placed on the tracheal stoma, the end-inspiratory humidity and temperature increased significantly. Ten minutes after commencement of use of the HME, tracheal humidity further increased significantly. Ten minutes after removal of the HME, tracheal humidity and temperature decreased to values as before start of use of HME.
Conclusions: The results indicate that short-term use of the HME Prim-Air system rapidly changes the tracheal climate. The significant increase in tracheal temperature and humidity may have beneficial effects on tracheal dryness in laryngectomized patients.