Helium is one of the most recent additions to the list of gaseous therapeutic agents. Its therapeutic use was first reported by Barach.1 He obtained beneficial results frequently when helium was used in the treatment of patients in status asthmaticus who were completely refractory to epinephrine as well as in the treatment of patients suffering from severe asthma who were partially refractory to epinephrine. He has also reported favorable results when it was used in the treatment of obstructive lesions, usually of inflammatory origin, of the larynx, trachea and bronchi. Barach2 has also employed helium and oxygen mixtures to advantage as substitutes for pure oxygen in the treatment of patients suffering from emphysema, bronchiectasis or pulmonary fibrosis.
The purpose of this paper is to present an additional group of cases in which helium was used clinically. The patients had various respiratory difficulties during the course of anesthesia.