A medicinal gas used in medical conditions where there is more oxygen needed.


A gas used for medical conditions where there is a need for increased oxygen intake, such as upper airway obstruction in asthma and COPD.


Helium is a second most abundant chemical element in the universe with symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas located at the top of the noble gases on the periodic table. Its boiling and melting points are the lowest among all the elements. Its clinical benefit in inhalation therapy arises from its advantageous physical properties than ambient air. Helium has lower density than air and generates less resistance than to provide improved lung ventilation. It is also used as an analytical reagent in diagnostic/imaging tests to detect respiratory function of the patient.



For use in patients who are not getting enough oxygen into their blood due to blockages in the lungs from pathological conditions or injuries. Suggested potential benefit in upper airway obstruction, in severe asthma, and in exacerbations of COPD/COLD. Helium may be used in place of carbon monoxide... Read more


Helium provides lung ventilation and prevents narrowing or collapse in respiratory units. It increases the tendency to laminar flow and reduces the resistance in turbulent flow, leading to more efficient penetration of gases to the distal alveoli, higher minute volumes and improved ventilation.

Mechanism of action

Due to its lower density, helium achieves more effective flow of gas due to lowered resistance to gas flow within the airways and reduces the work of breathing by decreasing the pressure gradient needed to achieve a turbulent flow [ Read more


Information currently not available.

Protein binding

Information currently not available.

Volume of distribution

Information currently not available.


Information currently not available.

Half life

0.8 seconds

Route of elimination



Little evidence of toxic effects from helium therapy in clinical settings. Due to high thermal conductivity, may cause hypothermia in case of prolonged administration.

Adverse Effects


Information currently not available.

Food Interactions

    Information currently not available.


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7 References
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  2. 2 . Diehl JL, Peigne V, Guerot E, Faisy C, Lecourt L, Mercat A: Helium in the adult critical care setting. Ann Intensive Care. 2011 Jul 6;1(1):24. doi: 10.1186/2110-5820-1-24.PubMed: 21906368
  3. 3 . Liu W, Khatibi N, Sridharan A, Zhang JH: Application of medical gases in the field of neurobiology. Med Gas Res. 2011 Jun 27;1(1):13. doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-1-13.PubMed: 22146102
  4. 4 . Dickinson R, Franks NP: Bench-to-bedside review: Molecular pharmacology and clinical use of inert gases in anesthesia and neuroprotection. Crit Care. 2010;14(4):229. doi: 10.1186/cc9051. Epub 2010 Aug 12.PubMed: 20836899
  5. 5 . Pagel PS, Krolikowski JG, Pratt PF Jr, Shim YH, Amour J, Warltier DC, Weihrauch D: Reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate-regulated potassium channels mediate helium-induced preconditioning against myocardial infarction in vivo. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2008 Aug;22(4):554-9. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 Jun 17.PubMed: 18662630
  6. 6 . Reuben AD, Harris AR: Heliox for asthma in the emergency department: a review of the literature. Emerg Med J. 2004 Mar;21(2):131-5.PubMed: 14988333
  7. 7 . Oei GT, Weber NC, Hollmann MW, Preckel B: Cellular effects of helium in different organs. Anesthesiology. 2010 Jun;112(6):1503-10. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181d9cb5e.PubMed: 20460992