There are now a sufficient number of studies reporting that HMEs provide adequate conditioning of inspired gases. They are suitable for most ICU patients, and they provide adequate moisture and heat. The use of HMEs will also decrease staff workload. However, heated humidifiers may be preferable for hypothermic patients, when minute ventilation is 10 l/min or more, or when occlusion of the endotracheal tube occurs during ventilation with an HME. The advantages and disadvantages of HMEs and heated humidifiers are summarized in Table 3.

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