Albuterol nebulized in heliox in the initial ED treatment of pediatric asthma: a blinded, randomized controlled trial

Am J Emerg Med. 2006 Jan;24(1):38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2005.06.007.


Objective: A prospective blinded, randomized controlled trial was undertaken to compare the initial response of albuterol nebulized in heliox or control in the treatment of moderately severe asthma in children presenting to a pediatric ED.

Methods: Patients were randomized to receive heliox (n = 20) or control (n = 21). The primary outcome was to compare a modified dyspnea index score at 10 and 20 minutes after randomization. Secondary outcomes were to determine if heliox decreased admission rates or endotracheal intubation.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference found at 10 or 20 minutes after randomization with heliox (P = .169 and P = .062, respectively). No statistical difference in admission rate was found, and no patients required endotracheal intubation in either group.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that albuterol nebulized with heliox offered no clinical benefit over standard therapy in the initial treatment of moderately severe asthma in the ED.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Albuterol / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Helium / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Helium
  • heliox
  • Albuterol
  • Oxygen