When the air starts drying up

Groundbreaking process for conditioning patient gas

During artificial respiration and breathing therapy, unnaturally dry and cool gases often enter the respiratory tract. The effect of this is a severe reduction in the temperature of mucous membranes which become extremely dry. Everyone agrees that patient gas needs to be kept warm and moist during invasive respiration. But even with non-invasive respiration, cold and dry gases have a detrimental effect: the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract can become swollen – the throat dries out and patients can suffer bleeding and pain. Now, Gründler GmbH has introduced a new technology that allows you to actively heat and humidify medical gas.

Conditioning patient gas offers two general approaches: passive or active systems. With passive systems most of the humidity and heat breathed out is kept inside a filter and fed back into the air going back into the lungs. With active humidification the breathing air receives heat and humidity from outside – such as by using electricity and water.

Grundler GmbH, a medical company partly owned by Steinbeis, has now introduced HumiCare R, a new technology that allows you to actively heat patient gas and humidify it. The HumiCareR system is based on the natural functioning of the human nasopharynx, the area around the nose and pharynx. Air is heated and humidified safely and effectively by using a very large surface which exchanges all of its energy with the gas. As the gas exits the humidifier it is at almost the same temperature as the recirculating water. The same applies to the saturation level, usually independent of the actual flow of gas and other influences.

By recirculating liquid, it was possible to expand the heat exchange area between the water and the air – using the same natural principle found in the mouth, nose and pharynx. As a result, you no longer have to heat the humidifying water to high temperatures.

The HumiCareR® 200 system is based on the principles of cold evaporation over a large, moist surface kept at a constant temperature. This is highly similar to the natural way air is humidified inside the human nose and pharynx. As it evaporates, the water turns into a gas. In this state humidity is held in the gas in the form of tiny molecules. This is crucial when it comes to hygiene as molecular humidity equates to smaller particle sizes and smaller particles are not able to transport micro-organisms such as bacteria or viruses.

This is one of the key differences with this humidification technique. Another highly effective hygiene barrier offered by the HumiCareR® 200, which also prevents the transportation of micro-organisms, are the smooth dry surfaces all around the heating tubes – ideally protected from condensates. The humidification chamber and piping system are available in an autoclave reusable version or as disposables, with no effect on function. The inventors of the HumiCareR 200 are confident that the function and hygiene benefits it offers make it possible to overcome the known side-effects of artificial respiration, as is currently being examined in clinical trials.


Dr. med. Christoph Gründler
Gründler GmbH (Freudenstadt)

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