Effect of Heliox on Respiratory Outcomes during Rigid Bronchoscopy in Term Lambs

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To (1) compare physiologic changes during rigid bronchoscopy during spontaneous and mechanical ventilation and (2) evaluate the efficacy of a helium-oxygen (heliox) gas mixture as compared with room air during rigid bronchoscopy.

Study Design

Crossover animal study evaluating physiologic parameters during rigid bronchoscopy. Outcomes were compared with predicted computational fluid analysis.


Simulated ventilation via computational fluid dynamics analysis and term lambs undergoing rigid bronchoscopy.


Respiratory and physiologic outcomes were analyzed in a lamb model simulating bronchoscopy during foreign body aspiration to compare heliox with room air. The main outcome measures were blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, blood pressure, partial pressure of oxygen, and partial pressure of carbon dioxide. Computational fluid dynamics analysis was performed with SOLIDWORKS within a rigid pediatric bronchoscope during simulated ventilation comparing heliox with room air.


For room air, lambs desaturated within 3 minutes during mechanical ventilation versus normal oxygen saturation during spontaneous ventilation (P = .01). No improvement in respiratory outcomes was seen between heliox and room air during mechanical ventilation. Computational fluid dynamics analysis demonstrates increased turbulence within size 3.5 bronchoscopes when comparing heliox and room air. Meaningful comparisons could not be made due to the intolerance of the lambs to heliox in vivo.


During mechanical ventilation on room air, lambs desaturate more quickly during rigid bronchoscopy on settings that should be adequate. Heliox does not improve ventilation during rigid bronchoscopy.

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