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Sep 11, 2020
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What is the method of treating coronavirus with inhalation of helium-oxygen mixtures?

Russian scientists have developed a way to treat critically ill patients with COVID-19 without using a ventilator. The President of the Russian Scientific Society of Immunologists told about this to journalists, Scientific Director of the Institute of Immunology and Physiology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Valery Chereshnev...

We are talking about inhalation with helium-oxygen mixtures (GCS). Valery Chereshnev spoke about what this method of treating patients with coronavirus infection is and how effective it is during his report "The COVID-19 epidemic: problems, solutions, prospects."

When is helium-oxygen mixtures used?

Helium-oxygen mixtures (heliox) have been used by physicians since the 1920s-1930s. Initially, they were used to treat the military, and therefore information about this method of therapy was closed. Later, these mixtures began to be used to treat various diseases, including exacerbation of bronchial asthma and croup in children, and after the end of World War II - during surgical operations. However, then Heliox was used at room temperature, which led to frequent side effects and even death. As a result, helium-oxygen mixtures left the arsenal of doctors for several decades.

New research on this method began in the 1970s and 1980s. Heliox began to be used not only for obstruction of the upper respiratory tract, croup, bronchiolitis and exacerbation of bronchial asthma, but also to improve the delivery of aerosol drugs and in the rehabilitation of patients with bronchopulmonary pathologies. Studies have shown that helium in a helium-oxygen mixture in a ratio of 67% to 33% prevented hypoaeration (i.e. insufficient filling with air) of the alveoli (air sacs) of the lungs and increased resistance to toxic doses of anesthetics. However, the technique was again not widely used due to technical difficulties.

At the same time, as doctors note, the use of Heliox allows to reduce the resistance of the airways, ensure uniform ventilation of the upper, middle and lower parts of the lungs, reduce intrathoracic pressure, increase tidal volume, increase the delivery of oxygen and its consumption by tissues, stimulate metabolism, etc.

How Helium Oxygen Blends Help Treat COVID-19?

Today, Russia uses an innovative method of forming and supplying thermal heliox (t-He / O2) using a special apparatus. According to Chereshnev, the presence of helium in the mixture helps carry oxygen to the alveoli. In addition, helium allows the mixture to be heated to 100 degrees without negative consequences for the body, which is impossible in the case of oxygen alone - it can cause a burn. Since SARS-CoV-2 dies at high temperatures, experts suggest inhaling heated GCS using special devices.

Chereshnev notes that inhalations with helium-oxygen mixtures heated to high temperatures help to reduce the severity of the course of coronavirus infection. According to the scientific director of the Institute of Immunology and Physiology, out of 50 patients with a new coronavirus infection who took part in the study, only one had to be connected to a ventilator after inhalation with a helium-oxygen mixture. “This system has been tested on the basis of the republican hospital in Komi. We only had 50 people. All of them survived, they were severe covid-patients. This experience gave a positive result, "Chereshnev said.

There are contraindications. Be sure to consult your doctor.

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