Efficacy of helium--oxygen mixtures in the management of severe viral and post-intubation croup

Can Anaesth Soc J. 1979 May;26(3):206-12. doi: 10.1007/BF03006983.


An appreciable number of children with viral or post-intubation croup progress to respiratory failure necessitating an artificial airway. We report seven such patients with critical airway narrowing in whom we reduced the work of breathing by developing helium rather than air as a carrier gas for oxygen. Assessment of patients by a croup-scoring system and blood gas analysis suggests helium-oxygen mixtures to be a useful alternative to intervention with tracheostomy or tracheal intubation. The rationale and limitations of this treatment are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Croup / complications
  • Croup / therapy*
  • Female
  • Helium / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects
  • Laryngitis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Respiratory Therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications


  • Helium
  • Oxygen