OBJECTIVE: To assess the therapeutic effects of breathing a low-density helium and oxygen mixture (heliox, 80% helium and 20% oxygen) in premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) treated with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP). METHODS: Infants born between 28 and 32 weeks of gestational age with radiologic findings and clinical symptoms of RDS and requiring respiratory support with NCPAP within the first hour of life were included. These infants were randomly assigned to receive either standard medical air (control group) or a 4:1 helium and oxygen mixture (heliox group) during the first 12 hours of enrollment, followed by medical air until NCPAP was no longer needed. RESULTS: From February 2008 to September 2010, 51 newborn infants were randomly assigned to two groups, 24 in the control group and 27 in the heliox group. NCPAP with heliox significantly decreased the risk of mechanical ventilation in comparison with NCPAP with medical air (14.8% vs 45.8%). CONCLUSIONS: Heliox increases the effectiveness of NCPAP in the treatment of RDS in premature infants.
- Nasal CPAP
- Preterm infants
- Respiratory distress syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)