Inhaled Nitric Oxide: Toxicity and Monitoring Issues

  • R. P. Dellinger
Conference paper
Part of the Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (UICM, volume 30)


Nitric oxide (NO) has a long environmental and industrial history. It is a major component of smog and cigarette smoke (as high as 1000 ppm in cigarette smoke). Commercially, it is produced by reacting sodium nitrite with sulfuric acid. Commercial uses include catalyst production, as an ozone scavenger in welding shield glasses, and in the semi-conductor industry. Over the last 10 years, NO has achieved major prominence as an important biomediator, with many characteristics of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Over the last 5 years, there has been an increasing interest and study of inhaled NO as a potentially useful pharmaceutical agent in patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction char-acterized by some combination of pulmonary arterial hypertension and hypoxe-mia due to acute lung injury (ALI). This is somewhat remarkable since high concentrations of inhaled NO have long been known to be toxic and to have produced death in human accidents and in animal experiments. The difference between previously described toxicity and current thoughts of clinical benefit rests with the use of lower concentrations (1–100 ppm) for medical conditions as opposed to the higher concentrations (15000 ppm) that had been shown to produce death in humans and animals [1–3].


Nitric Oxide Minute Ventilation Soda Lime Nitrogen Dioxide Nitric Oxide Inhalation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

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  • R. P. Dellinger

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