A novel, simplified ex vivo method for measuring water exchange performance of heat and moisture exchangers for tracheostomy application

Cindy van den Boer, Sara H. Muller, Andrew D. Vincent, Klaus Züchner, Michiel W.M. van den Brekel, Frans J.M. Hilgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Breathing through a tracheostomy results in insufficient warming and humidification of inspired air. This loss of air-conditioning can be partially compensated for with the application of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) over the tracheostomy. In vitro (International Organization for Standardization [ISO] standard 9360-2:2001) and in vivo measurements of the effects of an HME are complex and technically challenging. The aim of this study was to develop a simple method to measure the ex vivo HME performance comparable with previous in vitro and in vivo results. METHODS: HMEs were weighed at the end of inspiration and at the end of expiration at different breathing volumes. Four HMEs (Atos Medical, Hörby, Sweden) with known in vivo humidity and in vitro water loss values were tested. The associations between weight change, volume, and absolute humidity were determined using both linear and non-linear mixed effects models. RESULTS: The rating between the 4 HMEs by weighing correlated with previous intratracheal measurements (R2 =0.98), and the ISO standard (R2 = 0.77). CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of the weight change between end of inhalation and end of exhalation is a valid and simple method of measuring the water exchange performance of an HME.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1458
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat and moisture exchanger
  • Humidity
  • Respiration
  • Total laryngectomy
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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