Should hyperbaric oxygen therapy be used to treat combat-related mild traumatic brain injury?

©2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

The average incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among service members deployed in Middle East conflict zones has increased 117% in recent years, mainly due to proximity to explosive blasts. Therapeutic exposure to a high oxygen environment was hoped to minimize the concussion symptoms resulting from mild TBI, but hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) treatment may not offer significant advantages, according to an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.

A prospective trial conducted at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine evaluated the benefits of HBO2 therapy on post-concussion symptoms in 50 military servicepersons who had suffered at least one combat-related mild TBI. The study, "The Effect of Hyperbaric on Symptoms Following Mild ," compared the results following 30 sessions of either HBO2 (2.4 atmospheres absolute pressure) or sham treatment over an 8-week period.

George Wolf, MD and Leonardo Profenna, MD, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (San Antonio, TX), David Cifu, MD and William Carne, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), and Laura Baugh, MD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Department of Neurology (Bethesda, MD), present data demonstrating that both patient groups showed significant improvement in concussion assessment and cognitive testing scores over the course of the study.

"This is a particularly important communication that addresses a continued area of controversy, particularly as it relates to the treatment of our military personnel sustaining ," says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of and Professor, VCU Neuroscience Center, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond. "While the authors stress that based upon their findings, larger multi-center, randomized, controlled, double-blinded clinical trials should be conducted, the compelling data in this communication does not support any therapeutic value for hyperbaric oxygen treatment, striking a cautionary note for those involved in the care and management of this patient population."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rx with hyperbaric oxygen improved TBI and PTSD in vets

Nov 28, 2011

Research led by Dr. Paul Harch, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has found that treatment with hyperbaric oxygen nearly three years after injury significantly improved function ...

Recommended for you

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations

2 hours ago

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from Umeå University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Ne ...

Memory in silent neurons

21 hours ago

According to a generally-accepted model of synaptic plasticity, a neuron that communicates with others of the same kind emits an electrical impulse as well as activating its synapses transiently. This electrical ...

Why your favourite song takes you down memory lane

Aug 28, 2014

Music triggers different functions of the brain, which helps explain why listening to a song you like might be enjoyable but a favourite song may plunge you into nostalgia, scientists said on Thursday.

User comments