Hyperbaric medicine

Hyperbaric medicine

Hyperbaric medicine, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen at a higher than atmospheric pressure.


Several therapeutic principles are made use of in HBOT:
*The increased overall pressure is of therapeutic value when HBOT is used in the treatment of decompression sickness and air embolism.
*For many other conditions, the therapeutic principle of HBOT lies in a drastically increased partial pressure of oxygen in the tissues of the body. The oxygen partial pressures achievable under HBOT are much higher than those under breathing pure oxygen at normobaric conditions (i.e. at normal atmospheric pressure).
*A related effect is the increased oxygen transport capacity of the blood. Under atmospheric pressure, oxygen transport is limited by the oxygen binding capacity of hemoglobin in red blood cells and very little oxygen is transported by blood plasma. Because the hemoglobin of the red blood cells is almost saturated with oxygen under atmospheric pressure, this route of transport cannot be exploited any further. Oxygen transport by plasma, however is significantly increased under HBOT.

The United States, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, known as UHMS, approved for reimbursement diagnoses for application of HBOT in hospitals. The following approved indications are approved uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as defined by the UHMS Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee. [The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee. Guidelines: Indications for Hyperbaric Oxygen. Kensington, MD: UHMS; 2000.] The Committee Report can be purchased directly through the [http://www.uhms.org/Publications/publications%20list.asp UHMS]
*Air or gas embolism [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/AirorGasEmbolism/tabid/271/Default.aspx |title=Air or Gas Embolism |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ]
*Carbon monoxide poisoning [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/CarbonMonoxidePoisoning/tabid/272/Default.aspx |title=Carbon Monoxide |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] cite journal |author=Piantadosi CA |title=Carbon monoxide poisoning |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=31 |issue=1 |pages=167–77 |year=2004 |pmid=15233173 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4002 |accessdate=2008-05-19]
**Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Complicated by Cyanide Poisoning [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/CarbonMonoxidePoisoning/CyanidePoisoning/tabid/284/Default.aspx |title=Cyanide Poisoning |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Hall AH, Rumack BH |title=Clinical toxicology of cyanide |journal=Ann Emerg Med |volume=15 |issue=9 |pages=1067–74 |year=1986 |month=September |pmid=3526995 |url=http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0196-0644(86)80131-7 |accessdate=2008-05-19 |doi=10.1016/S0196-0644(86)80131-7] [cite journal |author=Takano T, Miyazaki Y, Nashimoto I, Kobayashi K |title=Effect of hyperbaric oxygen on cyanide intoxication: in situ changes in intracellular oxidation reduction |journal=Undersea Biomed Res |volume=7 |issue=3 |pages=191–7 |year=1980 |month=September |pmid=7423657 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2888 |accessdate=2008-05-19]
*Clostridal Myositis and Myonecrosis [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/ClostridalMyositisandMyonecrosis/tabid/273/Default.aspx |title=Clostridal Myositis and Myonecrosis (Gas gangrene) |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] (Gas gangrene [cite journal |author=Hart GB, Strauss MB |title=Gas Gangrene - Clostridial Myonecrosis: A Review |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=5 |issue=2 |pages=125–144 |year=1990 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4428 |accessdate=2008-05-16] [cite journal |author=Zamboni WA, Riseman JA, Kucan JO |title=Management of Fournier's Gangrene and the role of Hyperbaric Oxygen |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=5 |issue=3 |pages=177–186 |year=1990 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4431 |accessdate=2008-05-16] )
*Crush Injury, Compartment syndrome, and other Acute Traumatic Ischemias [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/CrushInjury/tabid/274/Default.aspx |title=Crush Injury, Compartment syndrome, and other Acute Traumatic Ischemias |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Bouachour G, Cronier P, Gouello JP, Toulemonde JL, Talha A, Alquier P |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the management of crush injuries: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial |journal=J Trauma |volume=41 |issue=2 |pages=333–9 |year=1996 |month=August |pmid=8760546 |url=http://meta.wkhealth.com/pt/pt-core/template-journal/lwwgateway/media/landingpage.htm?issn=0022-5282&volume=41&issue=2&spage=333 |accessdate=2008-05-19]
*Decompression sickness [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/DecompressionSickness/tabid/275/Default.aspx |title=Decompression Sickness or Illness and Arterial Gas Embolism |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite book |title=Bennett and Elliott's physiology and medicine of diving, 5th Rev ed. |last=Brubakk |first=A. O. |coauthors=T. S. Neuman |year=2003 |publisher=Saunders Ltd. |location=United States |isbn=0702025712 |pages=800 ] [cite journal |last=Acott |first=C. |title=A brief history of diving and decompression illness |journal=South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society journal |volume=29 |issue=2 |year=1999 |issn=0813-1988 |oclc=16986801 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/6004 |accessdate=2008-03-18 ]
*Enhancement of Healing in Selected Problem Wounds [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/ProblemWounds/tabid/276/Default.aspx |title=Enhancement of Healing in Selected Problem Wounds |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Zamboni WA, Wong HP, Stephenson LL, Pfeifer MA |title=Evaluation of hyperbaric oxygen for diabetic wounds: a prospective study |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=24 |issue=3 |pages=175–9 |year=1997 |month=September |pmid=9308140 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2279 |accessdate=2008-05-16] [cite journal |author=Kranke P, Bennett M, Roeckl-Wiedmann I, Debus S |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for chronic wounds |journal=Cochrane Database Syst Rev |volume= |issue=2 |pages=CD004123 |year=2004 |pmid=15106239 |doi=10.1002/14651858.CD004123.pub2 |accessdate=2008-05-16]
*Exceptional Blood Loss [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/ExceptionalBloodLossAnemia/tabid/277/Default.aspx |title=Exceptional Blood Loss - Anemia |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Hart GB, Lennon PA, Strauss MB. |title=Hyperbaric oxygen in exceptional acute blood-loss anemia |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=2 |issue=4 |pages=205–210 |year=1987 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4352 |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] (Anemia)
*Intracranial Abscess [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/IntracranialAbscess/tabid/278/Default.aspx |title=Intracranial Abscess |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Lampl LA, Frey G, Dietze T, Trauschel M. |title=Hyperbaric Oxygen in Intracranial Abscesses |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=4 |issue=3 |pages=111–126 |year=1989 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4352 |accessdate=2008-05-19 ]
*Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/NecrotizingSoftTissueInfections/tabid/279/Default.aspx |title=Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] (Necrotizing fasciitis [cite journal |author=Escobar SJ, Slade JB, Hunt TK, Cianci P |title=Adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2) for treatment of necrotizing fasciitis reduces mortality and amputation rate |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=32 |issue=6 |pages=437–43 |year=2005 |pmid=16509286 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4061 |accessdate=2008-05-16] )
*Osteomyelitis [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/OsteomyelitisRefractory/tabid/280/Default.aspx |title=Refractory Osteomyelitis |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Mader JT, Adams KR, Sutton TE |title=Infectious diseases: pathophysiology and mechanisms of hyperbaric oxygen |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=2 |issue=3 |pages=133–140 |year=1987 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4339 |accessdate=2008-05-16] [cite journal |author=Kawashima M, Tamura H, Nagayoshi I, Takao K, Yoshida K, Yamaguchi T |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in orthopedic conditions |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=31 |issue=1 |pages=155–62 |year=2004 |pmid=15233171 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4000 |accessdate=2008-05-16] (Refractory)
*Delayed Radiation Injury [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/DelayedRadiationInjury/tabid/281/Default.aspx |title=Hyperbaric Ocxgen Treatments for Complications of radiation Therapy |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] (Soft Tissue and Bony Necrosis [cite journal |last=Zhang |first=L. D. |coauthors=J. F. Kang; H. L. Xue. |title=Distribution of lesions in the head and neck of the humerus and the femur in dysbaric osteonecrosis |journal=Undersea Biomed. Res. |volume=17 |issue=4 |pages=353–358 |year=1990 |issn=0093-5387 |oclc=2068005 |pmid=2396333 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2570 |accessdate=2008-04-06 ] [Lafforgue, P., Pathophysiology and natural history of avascular necrosis of bone. Joint Bone Spine, 2006. 73(5): p. 500-7.] )
*Skin Grafts & Flaps [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/SkinGraftsFlaps/tabid/282/Default.aspx |title=Skin Grafts and Flaps Compromised |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=McFarlane RM, Wermuth RE |title=The use of hyperbaric oxygen to prevent necrosis in experimental pedicle flaps and composite skin grafts |journal=Plast. Reconstr. Surg. |volume=37 |issue=5 |pages=422–30 |year=1966 |month=May |pmid=5327032 |doi=10.1097/00006534-196605000-00008 ] (Compromised)
*Thermal Burns [cite web |url=http://www.uhms.org/ResourceLibrary/Indications/ThermalBurns/tabid/283/Default.aspx |title=Thermal Burns |author=Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society |accessdate=2008-05-19 ] [cite journal |author=Cianci P, Lueders H, Lee H, Shapiro R, Sexton J, Williams C, Green B |title=Adjunctive Hyperbaric Oxygen Reduces the Need for Surgery in 40-80% Burns |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=3 |issue=2 |pages=97–101 |year=1988 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4369 |accessdate=2008-05-16] In the United States, HBOT is recognized by Medicare as a reimbursable treatment for 14 UHMS "approved" conditions. An HBOT session costs anywhere from $100 to $200 in private clinics, to over $1,000 in hospitals. More U.S. physicians are lawfully prescribing HBOT for "off label" conditions such as Lyme Diseasecite journal |author=Taylor RS, Simpson IN |title=Review of treatment options for lyme borreliosis |journal=J Chemother |volume=17 Suppl 2 |issue= |pages=3–16 |year=2005 |month=September |pmid=16315580 |doi= |url=http://www.jchemother.it/cgi-bin/digisuite.exe/searchresult?range=pubmed&volume=17%20Suppl%202&year=2005&firstpage=3 |accessdate=2008-08-06] , strokecite journal |author=Bennett MH, Wasiak J, Schnabel A, Kranke P, French C |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for acute ischaemic stroke |journal=Cochrane Database Syst Rev |volume= |issue=3 |pages=CD004954 |year=2005 |pmid=16034959 |doi=10.1002/14651858.CD004954.pub2 |url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD004954.pub2 |accessdate=2008-08-06] [cite journal |author=Jain KK |title=Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygenation on Spasticity in Stroke Patients. |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=4 |issue=2 |pages=55-61 |year=1989 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4394 |accessdate=2008-08-06] cite journal |author=Singhal AB, Lo EH |title=Advances in emerging nondrug therapies for acute stroke 2007 |journal=Stroke |volume=39 |issue=2 |pages=289–91 |year=2008 |month=February |pmid=18187678 |doi=10.1161/STROKEAHA.107.511485 |url=http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=18187678 |accessdate=2008-08-06] , migrainescite journal |author=Bennett MH, French C, Schnabel A, Wasiak J, Kranke P |title=Normobaric and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for migraine and cluster headache |journal=Cochrane Database Syst Rev |volume= |issue=3 |pages=CD005219 |year=2008 |pmid=18646121 |doi=10.1002/14651858.CD005219.pub2 |url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005219.pub2 |accessdate=2008-08-06] cite journal |author=Eftedal OS, Lydersen S, Helde G, White L, Brubakk AO, Stovner LJ |title=A randomized, double blind study of the prophylactic effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on migraine |journal=Cephalalgia |volume=24 |issue=8 |pages=639–44 |year=2004 |pmid=15265052 |doi=10.1111/j.1468-2982.2004.00724.x |accessdate=2008-08-06 ] [cite journal |author=Fife WP, Fife CE |title=Treatment of Migraine with Hyperbaric Oxygen. |journal=J. Hyperbaric Med |volume=4 |issue=1 |pages=7-15 |year=1989 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4386 |accessdate=2008-08-06] and also in Autismcite journal |author=Rossignol DA |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism |journal=Med. Hypotheses |volume=68 |issue=6 |pages=1208–27 |year=2007 |pmid=17141962 |doi=10.1016/j.mehy.2006.09.064 |url=http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0306-9877(06)00784-5 |accessdate=2008-08-06] and related disorders like ADHDfact|date=July 2008. Such patients are treated in outpatient clinics, however it is unlikely that their medical insurance will pay for off label treatments. In the United Kingdom most chambers are financed by the National Health Service, although some, such as those run by Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centres, are non-profit.

HBOT is controversial and health policy regarding its uses is politically charged. Both sides of the controversy on the effectiveness of HBOT is available in the form of PubMed and the Cochrane reviews [cite web |title=The Cochrane Reviews |url=http://www.cochrane.org/ |author=The Cochrane Reviews |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] and a discussion of "Medical Polemics" [cite web |url=http://www.drcranton.com/hbo/widelyaccepted.htm |title=If Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is so Good, Why Is It Not More Widely Accepted? |author=Cranton, EM |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] [ [ Medical Polemics] ] , a discussion of Multiple Sclerosis in particular [cite web |url=http://drcranton.com/tmp/MS_and_Medical_Politics.htm |title=The deadly influence of ideology in the treatment of multiple sclerosis |author=Gottlieb, SF |accessdate=2008-05-16 ] .

The chamber


The traditional type of hyperbaric chamber used for HBOT is a "hard shelled" pressure vessel. Such chambers can be run at absolute pressures up to 600 kilopascals or 85 PSI (lbf/in²), nearly six atmospheres.

Navies, diving organizations and hospitals typically operate these. They range in size from those which are portable and capable of treating just one patient to those which are fixed, very heavy and capable of treating eight or more patients.

The chamber may consist of:

* a pressure vessel that is generally made of steel and aluminium with the view ports (windows) or hull made of acrylic.
* one or more human entry hatches—these could be small and circular or wheel-in type hatches for patients on trolleys
* an airlock allowing human entry—a separate chamber with two hatches, one to the outside world and one to the main chamber, which can be independently pressurized to allow patients to enter or exit the main chamber while it is still pressurized
* an airlock allowing medicines, instruments and food to enter the main chamber
* glass ports or closed-circuit television allowing the technicians and medical staff outside the chamber to monitor the inside of the chamber
* an intercom allowing two-way communications inside and outside the chamber
* a carbon dioxide scrubber—consisting of a fan that passes the gas inside the chamber through a soda lime canister
* a control panel outside the chamber is used to open and close valves allowing air to enter or leave the chamber and oxygen to be supplied to oxygen helmets or masks

Oxygen Breathing

In today's larger "multiplace" chambers, both patients and medical staff inside the chamber breathe from "oxygen helmets", flexible, transparent soft plastic helmets with a seal around the neck similar to a space suit helmet, or tightly fitting aviators oxygen masks, which supply pure oxygen and remove the exhaled gas from the chamber. During treatment patients breathe 100% oxygen most of the time but have periodic air breaks to minimize the risk of oxygen toxicity. The exhaled gas must be removed from the chamber to prevent the build up of oxygen, which could provoke a fire. Medical staff may also breathe oxygen to reduce the risk of decompression sickness. Administration of 100% breathing oxygen maximizes the patients treatment. The pressure inside the chamber is increased by opening valves allowing high-pressure air to enter from storage cylinders, similar to diving cylinders. A gas compressor is used to fill these cylinders.Smaller "monoplace" chambers can only accommodate the patient. No medical staff can enter. The chamber is flooded with pure oxygen or compressed air. The cost of using pure oxygen in a monoplace chamber is much higher than using compressed air. If pure oxygen is used no oxygen breathing mask or helmet is needed. If compressed air is used then an oxygen mask or helmet is needed as in a multiplace chamber. In monoplace chambers that are compressed with pure oxygen a mask is available to provide the patient with "air breaks," periods of breathing normal air, in order to reduce the risk of hyperoxic seizures.

Effects of Pressure

Patients inside the chamber will notice discomfort inside their ears as a pressure difference develops between their middle ear and the chamber atmosphere. This can be relieved by the Valsalva maneuver or by "jaw wiggling". As the pressure increases further, mist may form in the air inside the chamber and the air may become warm. When the patient speaks, the pitch of the voice may increase to the level that they sound like cartoon characters.

To reduce the pressure, a valve is opened to allow gas out of the chamber. As the pressure falls, the patient’s ears may "squeak" as the pressure inside the ear equalizes with the chamber. The temperature in the chamber will fall.

Home treatment

There are portable HBOT chambers, which are used for home treatment. These are usually referred to as "mild chambers", which is a reference to the lower pressure of soft-sided chambers. Those commercially available in the USA go up to 4 PSI (1.27 ATA 8.92 FSW). International portable chambers can go to 7.35 psi (1.5 ATA 16.38 FSW) or higher. These chambers are operated with oxygen concentrators (typically 95% oxygen) or with 100% oxygen as the breathing gas.

The soft chambers are FDA approved only for the treatment of Altitude Sickness but are commonly used off label primarily for the treatment of autism and other neural conditions. The FDA has a specific warning that supplemental oxygen is not to be used. Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys has one in his house [cite web|url= http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1950067|title= Ankle, leg injuries cost Owens several weeks|accessdate= 2008-06-28|date= 2004-12-21|publisher= ESPN] to aid his recovery from injuries as well as teammate Kevin Burnett.Fact|date=June 2008 Similarly, Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies reported he has one he is using to speed recovery from a sprained ankle.Fact|date=June 2008 J.D. Drew of the Boston Red Sox has oneFact|date=June 2008 as does Zach Thomas of the Dallas Cowboys [cite web|url= http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/columnists/tarcher/stories/022908dnspoarcher.6df15dc.html|title= Zach Thomas brings plenty of drive to Dallas Cowboys|accessdate= 2008-06-28|author= Todd Archer|date= 2008-02-28|publisher= Denton Record-Chronicles] and Darren Sharper of the Minnesota Vikings.


Initially, HBOT was developed as a treatment for diving disorders involving bubbles of gas in the tissues, such as decompression sickness and gas embolism. The chamber cures decompression sickness and gas embolism by increasing pressure, reducing the size of the gas bubbles and improving the transport of blood to downstream tissues. The high concentrations of oxygen in the tissues are beneficial in keeping oxygen-starved tissues alive, and have the effect of removing the nitrogen from the bubble, making it smaller until it consists only of oxygen which is then re-absorbed into the body. After elimination of bubbles, the pressure is gradually reduced back to atmospheric levels.


The slang term for a cycle of pressurization inside the HBOT chamber is "a dive". An HBOT treatment for longer-term conditions is often a series of 20 to 40 dives.

Emergency HBOT for diving disorders typically follows one of two forms. For most cases, a shallow "dive" to a pressure the equivalent of 18 meters / 60 feet of water for 3 to 4.5 hours with the casualty breathing pure oxygen with air breaks every 20 minutes to reduce oxygen toxicity. For extremely serious cases, a deeper "dive" to a pressure the equivalent of 37 meters / 122 feet of water for 4.5 hours with the casualty breathing air.

In Canada and the United States, the U.S. Navy Dive Charts are used to determine the duration, pressure and breathing gas of the therapy. The most frequently used tables are Table 5 and Table 6. In the UK the Royal Navy 62 and 67 tables are used.

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society [ [http://uhms.org Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society] ] (UHMS) publishes a report which compiles the latest research findings and contains information regarding the recommended duration and pressure of the longer-term conditions.

Possible complications

There are risks associated with HBOT, similar to some diving disorders. Pressure changes can cause a "squeeze" or barotrauma in the tissues surrounding trapped air inside the body, such as the lungs [cite journal |author=Broome JR, Smith DJ |title=Pneumothorax as a complication of recompression therapy for cerebral arterial gas embolism |journal=Undersea Biomed Res |volume=19 |issue=6 |pages=447–55 |year=1992 |month=November |pmid=1304671 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2600 |accessdate=2008-05-23] , behind the eardrumcite journal |author=Fitzpatrick DT, Franck BA, Mason KT, Shannon SG |title=Risk factors for symptomatic otic and sinus barotrauma in a multiplace hyperbaric chamber |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=26 |issue=4 |pages=243–7 |year=1999 |pmid=10642071 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2316 |accessdate=2008-05-23] [cite journal |author=Fiesseler FW, Silverman ME, Riggs RL, Szucs PA |title=Indication for hyperbaric oxygen treatment as a predictor of tympanostomy tube placement |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=33 |issue=4 |pages=231–5 |year=2006 |pmid=17004409 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/5033 |accessdate=2008-05-23] , inside paranasal sinuses, or trapped underneath dental fillings [cite journal |author=Stein, L |title=Dental Distress. The ‘Diving Dentist’ Addresses the Problem of a Diving-Related Toothache |journal=Alert Diver |issue=January/ February |pages=45–48 |year=2000 |url=http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/membership/alert-diver/articles/public/AlertDiver_JF00_45-48.PDF |accessdate=2008-05-23|format=PDF] . Breathing high-pressure oxygen for long periods can cause oxygen toxicity. Temporarily blurred vision can be caused by swelling of the lens, which usually resolves in two to four weeks. [cite journal |author=Butler FK |title=Diving and hyperbaric ophthalmology |journal=Surv Ophthalmol |volume=39 |issue=5 |pages=347–66 |year=1995 |pmid=7604359 |doi=10.1016/S0039-6257(05)80091-8 ] [cite journal |author=Butler FK, White E, Twa M |title=Hyperoxic myopia in a closed-circuit mixed-gas scuba diver |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=26 |issue=1 |pages=41–5 |year=1999 |pmid=10353183 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2312 |accessdate=2008-05-23]

There are reports that cataract may progress following HBOT. [cite journal |author=Gesell LB, Adams BS, and Kob DG |title=De Novo Cataract Development Following A Standard Course Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med abstract |volume=27 |issue=supplement |year=2000 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/6862 |accessdate=2008-06-01] Also a rare side effect has been blindness secondary to optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve).Fact|date=February 2007


The only absolute contraindication to hyperbaric oxygen therapy is untreated pneumothorax. [cite journal |author=Broome JR, Smith DJ |title=Pneumothorax as a complication of recompression therapy for cerebral arterial gas embolism |journal=Undersea Biomed Res |volume=19 |issue=6 |pages=447–55 |year=1992 |month=November |pmid=1304671 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2600 |accessdate=2008-05-23]

Also, patients should not undergo HBO therapy if they are taking or have recently taken the following drugs:
* Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) - A chemotherapeutic drug.
* Disulfiram (Antabuse) - Used in the treatment of alcoholism.
* Cis-Platinum - A cancer drug.
* Mafenide Acetate (Sulfamylon) - Suppresses bacterial infections in burn wounds

The following are relative contraindications:
* Upper respiratory infections - These conditions can make it difficult for the patient to clear their ears, which can result in what is termed sinus squeeze.
* High fevers - In most cases the fever should be lowered before HBO treatment begins.
* Emphysema with CO2 retention - This condition can lead to pneumothorax during HBO treatment.
* History of thoracic (chest) surgery - This is rarely a problem and usually not considered a contraindication. However, there is concern that air may be trapped in lesions that were created by surgical scarring. These conditions need to be evaluated prior to considering HBO therapy.
* Malignant disease: Since cancers both thrive in blood rich environments and may be suppressed in high oxygen environments, cancer and HBO poses a dilemma since HBO both increases blood flow via angiogenesis and also raises oxygen levels. Taking an anti-angiogenic supplement may provide a solution to this problem. [cite journal |author=Takenaka S, Arimura T, Higashi M, Nagayama T, Ito E |title=Experimental study of bleomycin therapy in combination with hyperbaric oxygenation |journal=Nippon Gan Chiryo Gakkai Shi |volume=15 |issue=5 |pages=864–75 |year=1980 |month=August |pmid=6159432 ] [cite journal |author=Stubbs JM, Johnson EG, Thom SR |title=Trends Of Treating Patients, That Have Received Bleomycin Therapy In The Past, With Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (Hbot) And A Survey Of Considered Absolute Contraindications To Hbot |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med abstract |volume=32 |issue=supplement |year=2005 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/1638 |accessdate=2008-05-23]


The Collet (Quebec) trial [Collet, J.P., Vanasse, M., Marois, P., Amar, M., Goldberg, J., Lambert, J. et al. (2001) Hyperbaric oxygen for children with cerebral palsy: A randomized multicentre trial. The Lancet, 357, 582-586.] that was published in the Lancet in 2001 was the largest randomized trial of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for children with cerebral palsy (CP); it followed the McGill pilot study on the same subject. [cite journal |author=Montgomery D, Goldberg J, Amar M, Lacroix V, Lecomte J, Lambert J, Vanasse M, Marois P |title=Effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy: a pilot project |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=26 |issue=4 |pages=235–42 |year=1999 |pmid=10642070 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2324 |accessdate=2008-06-17]

The evidence showed both groups of children treated with two very different hyperbaric treatment dosages improved significantly. The motor improvements that were seen and measured with the gross motor function measure [Russell, D.J., Rosenbaum, P.L., Cadman, D.T., Gowland, C., Hardy, S., & Jarvis, S. (1989). The gross motor function measure: A means to evaluate the effects of physical therapy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 31(3), 341-352.] were greater, more generalized, and were obtained in a shorter period of time than most of the changes found in any other studies of recognized conventional therapies in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy [Almeida, G.L., Campbell, S.K., Girolami, G.L., Penn, R.D., & Corcos, D.M. (1997). Multidimensional assessment of motor function in a child with cerebral palsy following intrathecal administration of baclofen. Physical Therapy, 77 (7), 751-764.] [Damiano, D.L. & Abel, M.F. (1998). Functional outcomes of strength training in spastic cerebral palsy. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 79 (2), 119-125.] . The children in both groups improved an average of ten times more during the two months of HBOT (whilst all other therapies and medication were stopped) than during the three months follow-up (when medication and all the ancillary treatments were restarted). This impressive change in the rate of improvements clearly indicates the probable effectiveness of hyperbaric treatment. Both the Lancet commentary [Talking Points, Hyperbaric oxygen: Hype or hope? Lancet 2001;357] and the tech report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) [cite web |author=Agency for Healthcare US Department. |title= Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Stroke |year=2003 |url=http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcsums/hypoxsum.htm |accessdate=2008-06-17] concluded that the hypothesis of both treatments being equally effective should be retained.

Since the Quebec study of HBOT for children with CP, many reports [Chang CF, Niu KC, Hoffer BJ, Wang Y, Borlongan CV. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treatment of post ischemic stroke in adult rats. Exp Neurol 2002; 166: 298-306.] [Heuser G, Heuser SA, Rodelander D, Aguilera O, Uszler M. Treatment of neurologically impaired adults and children with "mild" hyperbaric oxygenation (1.3 ATA and 24% Oxygen). In Joiner JT, ed. Hyperbaric Oxygenation for Cerebral Palsy and the Brain-Injured Child. Best Publications, Flagstaff Arizona 2002;109-15] have been made on the possible efficacy of a low pressure hyperbaric treatment and all the trials [Barret, K. (1999). Pediatric cerebral palsy treated by 1.5 ATA hyperbaric oxygen – A pilot study. Proceedings of The Second International Symposium on HBO for CP .] [Marois, P., & Vanasse, M. (Juillet 2006). HBOT in the treatment of cerebral palsy: A retrospective study of 120 cases-5 years. Paper presented at 5th Annual Symposium: HBO and the recoverable brain, Fort Lauderdale, USA.] [Nighoghossian N., Trouillas P., Adeleine P., Salord F. Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Stroke 1995; 26: 1369-1372.] [SHI Xiao-yan, TANG Zhong-quan, SUN Da and HE Xiao-jun. Evaluation of hyperbaric oxygen treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders following traumatic brain injury. Chin Med J 2006;119(23):1978-1982.] conducted with HBOT in CP have demonstrated positive results.

An editorial on CP published by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society in 2007 called for further research that will include "basic science research to determine a reasonable mechanism of action" for hyperbaric oxygenation as well as "clinical studies of the highest possible methodological rigor". [cite journal |author=Bennett M, Newton H |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and cerebral palsy--where to now? |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=34 |issue=2 |pages=69–74 |year=2007 |pmid=17520857 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/6469 |accessdate=2008-04-20 ]

Middle ear barotrauma (MEBT) is always a consideration in treating both children and adults in a hyperbaric environment, but most children currently being treated with HBOT are being pressurized to 1.3 ATA which greatly reduces the risks of potential side effects of any kind.Fact|date=November 2007

Some medical practitioners recommend the use of HBOT for the treatment of acute tinnitus but this treatment has not been verified by independent evidence and the treatment was withdrawn from support by the German health insurance. [cite web |author=Sümmerer H |url=http://www.druckkammerzentrum-traunstein.de/Englisch/HBO_Tinnitus_engl.htm |title=Idiopathic tinnitus /sudden deafness |publisher=HBO Center Traunstein |accessdate=2008-06-19] There is evidence that the therapeutic effects could be greatly due to psychological mechanisms triggered by the patients attitude towards therapy prior to the treatment.cite journal |author=Stiegler P, Matzi V, Lipp C, Kontaxis A, Klemen H, Walch C, Smolle-Jüttner F |title=Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) in tinnitus: influence of psychological factors on treatment results? |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=33 |issue=6 |pages=429–37 |year=2006 |pmid=17274312 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/5044 |accessdate=2008-06-19]

It has been postulated that HBOT might relieve some of the core symptoms of autism. [cite journal |journal=Med Hypotheses |year=2007 |volume=68 |issue=6 |pages=1208–27 |title= Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism |author= Rossignol DA |doi=10.1016/j.mehy.2006.09.064 |pmid=17141962] .

Fischer "et al." in New York University performed the first randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial on MS patients treated with HBOT. [cite journal |author=Fischer BH, Marks M, Reich T |title=Hyperbaric-oxygen treatment of multiple sclerosis. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study |journal=N. Engl. J. Med. |volume=308 |issue=4 |pages=181–6 |year=1983 |month=January |pmid=6336824] Improvements in balance and bladder function were found in 12 of 17 patients (p<0.0001). Those patients with a less severe form of the disease had a more favorable and long lasting response. After a year with no further treatment, the treated group showed a positive change (p<0.0008). Barnes et al. [Barnes MP, Bates D, Cartlidge NEF, "et al." Hyper-baric oxygen and multiple sclerosis: short term results of a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Lancet 1985; ii:297-3006.] found overall benefit in their treated group (p<0.03) and a year later there was less deterioration in cerebellar function (p<0.03). Two other controlled studies have reported sustained benefit with follow-up. [cite journal |author=Oriani G, Barbieri S, Cislaghi G, Albonico G, Scarlato G, Mariani C, Pirovano C |title=Long-term Hyperbaric oxygen in multiple sclerosis: a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study with evoked potential studies |journal=J Hyp Med |year=1990 |volume=5 |issue=4 |pages=237–45 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4439 |accessdate=2008-04-20 ] [Pallotta R, Anceschi S, Costilgliola N, "et al." Prospecttive di terapia iperbarica nella sclerosi a placce. Ann Med Nav 1980; 85: 57-62.]

In the 2004 Cochrane review, Bennett and Heard "found no consistent evidence to confirm a beneficial effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and do not believe routine use is justified". [cite journal |author=Bennett M, Heard R |title=Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for multiple sclerosis |journal=Cochrane Database Syst Rev |volume= |issue=1 |pages=CD003057 |year=2004 |pmid=14974004 |doi=10.1002/14651858.CD003057.pub2 |accessdate=2008-06-17]

See also

* Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
* South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society


External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZY13bNB09E Patient receiving hyperbaric therapy in India (live video)]
* [http://www.emedicine.com/plastic/topic526.htm Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy]

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