Oxygen delivery via a heat and moisture exchange filter with an attached T-shaped reservoir satisfies infection control requirements of high efficiency bacterial and viral filtration and low gas flows. In order to assess the performance of such a device in critically ill patients being weaned from mechanical ventilation, we simulated 16 patients using a human patient simulator, measuring fractional inspired oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations and work of breathing at three oxygen flow rates. Oxygen concentration was dependent on peak inspiratory flow rate, tidal volume and oxygen flow rate. Rebreathing, as indicated by inspired carbon dioxide concentration, was greatest at high respiratory rates and low tidal volumes. Imposed inspiratory work of breathing was relatively high (mean 0.88 J.l−1[SD 0.30]). We conclude that this method of oxygen delivery is only suitable for patients in whom rapid extubation is anticipated.