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HME (Heat-Moisture Exchanger) Tips

Tips for Using and Caring for Your HME


  • Everyone with a stoma should wear an HME.
  • Always follow doctor recommendations. Some HMEs are contraindicated for
    laryngectomy patients or not recommended for use with nebulizing through inhalation devices. Your doctor may recommend changing your HME more often.
  • HME devices with a lower airflow resistance are good for physical exercise.
  • An HME should be changed if it malfunctions mechanically or becomes visibly soiled.
  • HMEs also warm the air you breathe so make sure to wear them in cold weather.
  • The use of HMEs with patients known to have an infectious disease may help to prevent cross-infection.
  • Simple stoma covers, such as foam covers scarves, bibs, bandanas, etc., do not provide the same benefits as a HME filter.
  • Most people notice that the amount of secretions diminishes and become less thick when using an HME, but this does not occur overnight. Several weeks may be required to notice this change.
  • Hands free speaking valves are not intended to be used when sleeping.
  • Old HMEs become clogged with secretions and no longer exchange moisture as effectively. It is important to wipe off the mucous from the HME cassette (using a soft cloth, a tissue, or a soft toothbrush) as often as necessary to ensure one is breathing comfortably and secretions are well managed.