What is the role of heliox in the treatment of asthma?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Heliox is a helium-oxygen (80:20 or 70:30) mixture that may provide dramatic benefit for ED patients with severe exacerbations. Helium is about 10% as dense as room air and, consequently, travels more easily down narrowed passages. This property makes heliox of particular value to patients at risk of intubation—by quickly decreasing the work of breathing and, when the gas mixture is used to drive the nebulizer, by better delivery of the inhaled bronchodilator.


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