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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at 1.3 Atm is As Effective As 100% Oxygen Therapy at 2.4 Atm


1. What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment?


Hyperbaric oxygen medicine is an emerging discipline in clinical medicine, with its unique curative effect and broad development prospects. The method of treating certain diseases by placing the patient in an environment higher than one atmospheric pressure to absorb pure oxygen through a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. In hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), subjects are placed in a chamber containing 100% oxygen at a pressure greater than one atmosphere absolute. This treatment accelerates tissue recovery and improves its physiological aspects by delivering a greater supply of oxygen to the damaged tissue.


2. Is hyperbaric oxygen treatment at 1.3 Atm the same as 100% oxygen therapy at 2.4 Atm?


Studies have proven that hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 1.3 Atm at room temperature is as effective as 100% oxygen therapy at 2.4 Atm. Breathing regular air under hyperbaric oxygen conditions of 1.3 Atm results in greater than 50% increase in tissue oxygenation. There are numerous case reports of small increases in air pressure having significant effects, including on the brain. Furthermore, even a small increase in air pressure, such as 1.05 atmospheres at a height of 402 meters below sea level (Dead Sea), can lead to significant physiological effects. Treatment with 1.3Atm room air is not "ineffective therapy" due to the significant physiological effects of a 50% increase in tissue oxygen levels.


A recent randomized controlled trial of mTBI patients by Wolf et al. used room air at 1.3 Atm as a sham control for 100% oxygen therapy at 2.4 Atm. Both groups showed significant improvements in cognitive symptoms and measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We found these results to be very important: they actually demonstrate that a cheaper and logically simpler treatment of mild HBNO2 (mildly high pressure at 1.3Atm and regular air) in patients with mTBI can lead to meaningful improvements. The interpretation is based on previous studies showing that mild HBNO2 conditions can be an effective treatment.


The first convincing results based on a crossover study show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment can induce neuroplasticity and marked improvements in brain function in mild TBI patients with chronic late long-term post-concussion syndrome years after injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is effective in treating other brain injuries, such as relieving symptoms of PTSD or repairing radiation damage. It is also reasonable to expect that hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment can help slow or even reverse the metabolic disturbances associated with neurodegenerative diseases.


Breathing 100% oxygen at 2.4 ATA produces very high oxygen levels in the tissues, which can lead to depressive effects or even focal toxicity, and it is conceivable that hyperbaric oxygen therapy with 2.4 ATA may not be as effective as 1.3 ATA or other lower levels pressure is effective.


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