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Encuesta sobre humidificación de la vía aérea en unidades de cuidados intensivos de adultos de Chile Airway humidification practices in Chilean intensive care units

Keywords: Intubation , intratracheal , Nebulizers and Vaporizers , Respiration , artificial

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Background: In patients with an artificial airway, inspired gases can be humidified and heated using a passive (heat and moisture exchange filter - HMEF), or an active system (heated humidifier). Aim: To assess how humidification is carried out and what is the usual clinical practice in this field in Chilean intensive care units (ICUs). Material and Methods: A specific survey to evaluate humidification system features as well as caregivers' preferences regarding humidification systems, was carried out on the same day in all Chilean ICUs. Results: Fifty-five ICUs were contacted and 44 of them completed the survey. From a total of 367 patients, 254 (69%) required humidification because they were breathing through an artificial airway. A heated humidifier was employed only in 12 patients (5%). Forty-three ICUs (98%) used HMEF as their routine humidification system. In 52% of surveyed ICUs, heated humidifiers were not available. Conclusions: In Chile the main method to humidify and heat inspired gases in patients with an artificial airway is the HMEF. Although there are clear indications for the use of heated humidifiers, they are seldom employed.


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