How is heliox used in the treatment of status asthmaticus?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
  • Author: Constantine K Saadeh, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

Helium is an inert gas that is less dense than nitrogen. The administration of a heliox reduces turbulent airflow across narrowed airways, which can help to reduce the work of breathing. This, in turn, can result in improved gas exchange and improve pH and clinical symptoms. [67, 68] It does not improve the caliber of the narrowed airway. Because of its low density, helium is more fluid under conditions of turbulence. This results in minimizing airway pressure and facilitating reoccurrence of laminar flow. Therefore, oxygenation becomes easier in the presence of increased airway resistance.


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