Influence of passive humidification on respiratory heat loss in tracheotomized patients

Head Neck. 2006 Jul;28(7):609-13. doi: 10.1002/hed.20376.


Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in total respiratory heat loss during use of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) in tracheotomized patients.

Methods: Tracheal humidity and temperature were measured before the application and during use of the HME (plastic foam impregnated with CaCl2), and total respiratory heat loss was calculated.

Results: No significant difference was found between the convective heat exchange before and after use of the HME for a 10-minute period. When the HME was placed on the tracheal opening, the evaporative heat exchange and the total respiratory heat loss decreased significantly.

Conclusions: The results indicate that passive airway humidification is effective in tracheotomized patients even after a 10-minute period. However, the positive effect on the energy balance of the tracheal mucosa after prolonged use of the HME remains to be proven.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature
  • Body Temperature Regulation* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trachea / physiology*
  • Tracheotomy*