Clinical review: Humidifiers during non-invasive ventilation - key topics and practical implications Academic Article uri icon


  • Inadequate gas conditioning during non-invasive ventilation (NIV) can impair the anatomy and function of nasal mucosa. The resulting symptoms may have a negative effect on patients' adherence to ventilatory treatment, especially for chronic use. Several parameters, mostly technical aspects of NIV, contribute to inefficient gas conditioning. Factors affecting airway humidity during NIV include inspiratory flow, inspiratory oxygen fraction, leaks, type of ventilator, interface used to deliver NIV, temperature and pressure of inhaled gas, and type of humidifier. The correct application of a humidification system may avoid the effects of NIV-induced drying of the airway. This brief review analyses the consequences of airway dryness in patients receiving NIV and the technical tools necessary to guarantee adequate gas conditioning during ventilatory treatment. Open questions remain about the timing of gas conditioning for acute or chronic settings, the choice and type of humidification device, the interaction between the humidifier and the underlying disease, and the effects of individual humidification systems on delivered humidity.


  • Esquinas Rodriguez, AM
  • Scala, R
  • Soroksky, A
  • BaHammam, A
  • de Klerk, A
  • Valipour, A
  • Chiumello, D
  • Martin, C
  • Holland, AE

publication date

  • 2012