How is heliox administered to a patient 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

Despite considerable promise, the literature shows mixed results. Potential explanations include the large number of small trials (low statistical power) and suboptimal delivery of albuterol to the patient. Briefly, heliox-driven nebulizer treatments should have the gas set at a rate of 8-10 L/min and with double the usual amount of albuterol. These adjustments result in the delivery of the appropriate amount of albuterol to the patient but with particles being delivered in the heliox mixture instead of oxygen or room air. When patients need supplemental oxygen, one can deliver it via nasal prong. Of course, as the supplemental oxygen is increased, the benefits of using heliox decrease. Oxygen requirements should determine the ideal mix. The role of heliox in acute asthma remains under investigation.


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