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Original Research: AIRWAY DISEASE IN INFANTS |

Clinical Effects of Heliox Administration for Acute Bronchiolitis in Young Infants*

Gilles Cambonie, MD, PhD; Christophe Milési, MD; Sébastien Fournier-Favre, MD; François Counil, MD, PhD; Samir Jaber, MD, PhD; Jean-Charles Picaud, MD, PhD; Stefan Matecki, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (Drs. Cambonie, Milési, Fournier-Favre, and Picaud), Pediatric Pulmonology Unit (Dr. Counil), Physiological Department (Dr. Jaber), Arnaud de Villeneuve Hospital; and Intensive Care Unit and Transplantation Department (Dr. Matecki), Saint Eloi Hospital, University Hospital of Montpellier, Montpellier, France.

Correspondence to: Gilles Cambonie, MD, PhD, Unité de Réanimation-Pédiatrique, CHU de Montpellier, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, 371 Avenue du Doyen G. Giraud, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France; e-mail: g-cambonie@chu-montpellier.fr



Chest. 2006;129(3):676-682. doi:10.1378/chest.129.3.676
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Objective: To assess the effect of heliox, a helium-oxygen mixture, on respiratory distress symptoms in young infants.

Design: Prospective, randomized, double-blind study.

Setting: Pediatric ICU (PICU) of a university hospital.

Patients: Twenty infants, all < 3 months old, admitted to the PICU with moderate-to-severe acute respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis.

Interventions: All infants were randomly and blindly assigned to inhale either heliox or an air-oxygen mixture (airox) for 1 h under an oxyhood.

Measurements and results: After 1 h, the respiratory distress score was significantly lower in the heliox group compared with the airox group (3.05 vs 5.5, p < 0.01), with a significant reduction in accessory muscles use (p < 0.05) and expiratory wheezing (p < 0.01). In contrast, inspiratory breath sounds and cyanosis did not significantly differ between groups. The ex-premature infants of the heliox group had a higher respiratory distress score at baseline compared with the term infants of this group (5.8 vs 5.2, p < 0.05) and a comparable decrease in the score at 60 min.

Conclusions: In young infants, even those born prematurely, heliox breathing induced a rapid reduction in accessory muscles use and expiratory wheezing. Further studies are needed to confirm the decreased respiratory muscle work of breathing during heliox inhalation in this population.

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