Heliox reduces the incidence of mechanical ventilation in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Gonzalo Albomoz*, Hai Xiang Fu, James C. Doherty, Philip Factor, Jane Dematte D'Amico, Jacob Lasha Sznajder, Marvin A. McMillen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


latrodactioo: Heliox is a low density gas mixture of Helium and Oxygen which can be utilized as an alternative mode of oxygen delivery. Heliox has been shown to reduce turbulence of flow and resistance to flow in the pulmonary airways relative to conventional oxygen deliver, systems. The present retrospective study looked at the relative effectiveness of Heliox therapy and conventional bronchodilator therapy in obviating the need for mechanical ventilation in asthma and COPD patients presenting with acute respiratory insufficiency. Methods: For the calendar year 1996, all emergency room and hospital admission charts were reviewed for patients admitted with 'ti'gir- of asthma or COPD. All non-intubated patients dmi-H to the 1CU with these diagnoses were included in the study group. Comparisons were made between those treated with conventional therapies and those receiving Heliox (80%helium, 20Soxygen). Specifically, changes in pH, PaCOand PaO and the incidence of intubation were analyzed. Results: The Heliox (n=l 5) and Noo-Hdiox (ff=25) groups were comptable in age, gender, initial pH, initial PaCO and initial PaO as well as relative proportion of asthmatics to COPD patients. The incidence of intubation in me Heliox group was 13 J% which was significantly lower than the 56.0% in the NonHeliox group (p<005)This difference in clinical outcome may be due to significant improvement in addosis (pH increase from 7.32 ±0.02 to,/-ft O/)nd hypercarbia ( PaCO, reduction from 58.8 ±5.1 mmHg to 46.1 ±2.7 mmHg, p-0 05) in the Heliox group which was not observed in the Non-Hcliox group. Neither group manifested any improvement in oxygénation by Mood gas analysis. Concluions: Patients treated with Heliox demonstrated a lower incidenceof support a possible adjuvant role for Heliox in the treatment of acute respiratory insufficiency. Heliox therapy may serve as an effective temporizing measure forestalling the need for mechanical ventilation until more conventional therapies (i.e. bronchodilators and steroids) take effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A110
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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