There are two types of humidification devices that can add heat and humidity to inspired gas – active and passive.
Active humidification devices utilize an external water source to add humidity to the inspired air. While these devices can be unheated, such as in-line vaporizers or bubble humidifiers, heated humidifiers (HH), including passover and counterflow humidifiers, are commonly used. Unlike unheated humidifiers, HHs use an additional heat source to condition the inspired gas. The suggested levels of humidity for active humidifiers are between 33 and 44 mg/L H2O and temperatures range from 34 to 41 °C.2
Passive humidification devices, including heat and moisture exchangers (HMEs), utilize the heat and moisture in patient-expired air to condition the next breath. HMEs can be hygroscopic, hydrophobic or hydrophobic-hygroscopic and are placed between the Y-piece of the ventilator circuit and the patient interface. The efficiency of passive devices varies with design and can have implications for ventilation3 such as increased dead space and expiratory resistance.
Find clinical evidence and practice guidelines for delivering nasal high flow (aka HFNC) therapy.
Providing Optimal Humidity for intubated patients
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Establish effective spontaneous breathing or assist ventilation of the lungs
Noninvasive respiratory support that provides a continuous distending pressure
Respiratory support that replaces spontaneous breathing
Noninvasive respiratory support that delivers high flows of blended air and oxygen
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