Tracheostomy bypasses the upper airways and as a result, the important, natural humidification and filtration functions are lost. The tracheostomy creates an open portal of entry for unconditioned air, microbes and other fine airborne particles into the lower airways.
Use of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) helps to replace the loss of heat and moisture, and in some cases, filters the air, both during inhalation and exhalation. HMEs are also better for patient mobility, rehabilitation, compliance and sleeping when compared to external humidification (Merol et al., 2012). Foreman et al., 2016 found that by using an HME vs. an external humidifier, there was a significant reduction in adverse events (mucus plugs) and an overall reduction in the number of days requiring chest physiotherapy during hospitalizations.
In response to COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, along with the article, "Safety Recommendations for Evaluation and Surgery of the Head and Neck During the COVID-19 Pandemic" published in JAMA (Givi et al., 2020) have issued guidelines for all patients with a tracheostoma:
• Perform trachesotomy suctioning using a closed suction system with viral filter*
• Use a heat and moisture exchanger device, instead of tracheostomy collar during weaning to prevent virus spread or reinfection of patients*
• Minimize tracheal suctioning to reduce aerosolization*
*Data on file
As a result of these recommendations and guidelines, Atos Medical Inc. has received a significant increase in requests for products that may help with protection for tracheostomy patients, as well as the healthcare providers (HCPs) that are treating them. Therefore, Atos Medical is providing expanded access to our entire line of tracheostomy heat and moisture exchangers and filters for US healthcare facilities. This product information webinar is designed to introduce the options that are now available and answer questions about specifications and indications for use.