2.21 Aerosol and/or Humidity Therapy
Category: UWHC Patient Care Policy
Effective Date: October 5, 2016
Manual: Respiratory Care Services
Heated aerosols and humidifiers replace the heating and humidification functions of the
patient’s upper airway. An aerosol is a suspension of liquid or solid particles in a gas. Humidity
refers to the addition of water vapor to a gas. A large volume nebulizer provides humidification
of the upper airway.
Heat Moisture Exchanger (HME) - HME’s are filters that retain part of the heat and moisture
during exhalation and returns this heat and moisture to the inspired gas. Refer to Respiratory
Care Policy # 2.02, Mechanical Ventilation.
A. All patients will be assessed by the Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) to determine if the
appropriate indications for the therapy are present.
B. Therapy will be provided in accordance with a provider’s order.
C. Analyze humidifiers on the dry side.
D. AFCH patients may use an artificial nose (trach vent HME) during trials or transportation
with continuous ventilator support as an alternative to heated humidity.
1. First time artificial nose trial will require RT to monitor respiratory status before,
during and after the trial.
2. Initial trials usually begin for five minutes, but not to exceed 15 minutes.
A. Oxygen analyzer
B. Large volume nebulizers
C. Humidifiers or HME
A. Review and acknowledge provider’s order.
B. Review patient's chart.
C. Obtain the appropriate equipment.
D. Introduce yourself to the patient and/or family. Explain the reason for the procedure.
E. When humidifying the artificial airway, monitor the temperature of the delivered gas to
maintain at 32-37 Celsius.
F. Document the FiO2 every shift with an artificial airway.
G. Dispose of condensation or ‘rainout’ from the circuit.
A. Respiratory Care Services P&P;
1. 2:02 "Mechanical Ventilation: Adult and Pediatric"
2. 2.12 “BiPAP Assisted Ventilation”
3. 2:18 “Oxygen Therapy”
4. 2.22 “High Flow Nasal Cannula”
1. AARC Clinical Practice Guidelines: Humidification During Invasive and
Non-invasive Mechanical Ventilation.
2. Aerosol Deliver Device Selection for Spontaneously Breathing Patients
3. Fisher Pykel instruction manual.
Approved by Director and Medical Director of Respiratory Care:
Original copy of this Policy & Procedure is available in the Respiratory Care Office [E5/489].