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Thorax. 1987 Nov;42(11):877-80.

Effectiveness of a heat and moisture exchanger in preventing hyperpnoea induced bronchoconstriction in subjects with asthma.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0026.


The effect of a heat and moisture exchanger, a device with hygroscopic material for conditioning inspired air, on hyperpnoea induced bronchoconstriction was studied in nine non-smoking volunteers with asthma, aged 19-32 years. Each had previously shown an increase of at least 100% in specific airways resistance (sRaw) to isocapnic hyperpnoea with dry air. On two separate days the subject performed isocapnic hyperpnoea with dry air at 60-70 l min-1 for five minutes. Before, immediately after, and five minutes after completion of a test sRaw measurements were made. Heat and moisture exchangers were placed in the breathing circuit on one of the two days. All subjects had an increase in sRaw of 100% or more without the heat and moisture exchangers (average increase 300%) but were protected from bronchoconstriction with the devices in place (average increase 7%) (p less than 0.005). The exchanger's resistance to airflow was less than 1 cm H2O for flow rates of 100 l min-1. A heat and moisture exchanger designed as a facemask or mouthpiece may allow a person with asthma to exercise without the need for prophylactic drugs.

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