Investigators enrolled 30 subjects between ages two and 18 with moderate to severe asthma. Severity of asthma was determined by a pulmonary index (PI) of >8. PI scores are based on respiratory rate, wheezing, accessory muscle use, inspiratory/expiratory ratio, and pulse oximetry. All children were given one 5mg albuterol treatment using traditional oxygen delivery along with oral steroids dosed at 2mg/kg. After the initial treatment and steroids if the PI score was >8 they were randomly assigned to receive continuous albuterol by heliox or traditional oxygen delivery.
The study showed that continuous albuterol delivered by heliox mixture lowered PI scores from baseline to 240 minutes into the study (P<0.001). Results also demonstrated a trend towards improved rate of discharge from the emergency department and hospital, but the study was not powered to adequately evaluate these outcomes Limitations of the study include lack of complete blinding and a small sample size. TH