Use of helium in the management of upper airway obstruction.

T. Q. Tan*, J. S. Thiele, E. W. Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Inhalation therapy with the use of helium-oxygen has been advocated in the treatment of upper airway obstruction due to various causes. The therapeutic effect is secondary to a decrease in turbulent flow and airway resistance in areas of obstruction. We present a patient with acute respiratory failure secondary to upper airway obstruction caused by a tumor involving the distal trachea and proximal left mainstem bronchus. Despite assistance with a mechanical ventilator, the patient remained tachypneic and hypercarbic. Following institution of helium therapy, the patient became less short of breath and her carbon dioxide returned to a normal level. She was later weaned from mechanical ventilation and discharged from the hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-51
Number of pages3
JournalThe Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society : official organ of the Louisiana State Medical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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