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Critical Care Research and Practice
Volume 2014, Article ID 954814, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Heliox Improves Carbon Dioxide Removal during Lung Protective Mechanical Ventilation

1Laboratory of Experimental Intensive Care and Anaesthesiology (LEICA), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Room M0–210, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Intensive Care, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Room M0–210, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3Department of Anaesthesiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Intensive Care, University Medical Center, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands

Received 24 July 2014; Revised 16 November 2014; Accepted 17 November 2014; Published 7 December 2014

Academic Editor: Robert Boots

Copyright © 2014 Charlotte J. Beurskens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Helium is a noble gas with low density and increased carbon dioxide (CO2) diffusion capacity. This allows lower driving pressures in mechanical ventilation and increased CO2 diffusion. We hypothesized that heliox facilitates ventilation in patients during lung-protective mechanical ventilation using low tidal volumes. Methods. This is an observational cohort substudy of a single arm intervention study. Twenty-four ICU patients were included, who were admitted after a cardiac arrest and mechanically ventilated for 3 hours with heliox (50% helium; 50% oxygen). A fixed protective ventilation protocol (6 mL/kg) was used, with prospective observation for changes in lung mechanics and gas exchange. Statistics was by Bonferroni post-hoc correction with statistical significance set at . Results. During heliox ventilation, respiratory rate decreased ( versus breaths min−1, ). Minute volume ventilation showed a trend to decrease compared to baseline ( versus  L min−1, ), while reducing PaCO2 levels ( versus  kPa, ) and peak pressures ( versus  cm H2O, ). Conclusions. Heliox improved CO2 elimination while allowing reduced minute volume ventilation in adult patients during protective mechanical ventilation.