After total laryngectomy, inspired air is no longer optimally conditioned by the upper airways. Impaired mucociliary clearance and histological changes of respiratory epithelium, such as loss of ciliated cells, have been described in laryngectomized patients. Heat and moisture exchangers (HMEs) are passive humidifiers that re-condition the inspired air. Aim of this study was to assess the effect of HMEs on tracheal epithelium and tracheal mucus transport velocity (TMV). Tracheal brush biopsies were collected in three groups of TLE patients: 21 long-term HME users, 10 non-HME users, and 16 non-HME users before and after 4-9 months HME use. Tracheal epithelium biopsies were assessed using a digital high-speed camera mounted onto a light microscope. TMV was determined by scintigraphy in the first two patient groups. Significantly more ciliated cells were found in HME users compared to non-HME users (p = 0.05). TMV was higher in HME users (median 2 mm/min; 0-7.9) compared to non-HME users (median 0.8 mm/min; 0-12.3), but this difference was not significant (p = 0.37). One-hour breathing without HME in long-term HME users did not measurably decrease TMV (p = 0.13). The long-term use of an HME restores/prevents the loss of tracheal ciliated cells. A significant improvement in TMV was not found. Short-term (one hour) detachment of an HME has no measurable effect on TMV.