Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Traumatic Brain Injuries 

More and more research is coming out supporting the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

The premise is quite simply explained. The brain is hurt. The brain needs oxygen and doesn’t want to be inflamed. HBOT increases the oxygen in the blood and helps reduce inflammation. It also helps the body try to heal. As part of healing, it allows your body to wake up cells that may have been dormant for whatever reason (due to TBI or other disease processes).

In all studies, there is always questions of efficacy and effectiveness. Even though promising results, research has tried to address the placebo effect.

In an article in the JOURNAL OF HEAD TRAUMA REHABILITATION, “Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective for Traumatic Brain Injury A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature,” the author looked at various studies. They found that the “sham” part of the trial is that it is always difficult to convince the “placebo” people in the study that you are giving them an HBOT treatment, unless you actually put them in the chamber and turn it on, therefore, they are still getting some sort of treatment.

Even if you lower the ATA level or may be with only room air instead of piping in 100% oxygen, but at the end of the day they get some kind of treatment. Therefore, results are often disputable to do a direct comparison. Having said that, it shows that people seem to have positive effects from HBOT, and research in this area is both exciting and promising.

At Progressive Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM), in Cedar Rapids, we have the Vitaeris 320. This is a soft-sided, soft-sided, re-hyperbaric chamber that is able to go up to 1.3 ATA. It does not have the side effect potential that the higher pressure chambers do.

PRM uses HBOT as an adjunct therapy based on the patient’s diagnosis and our desire to tap into their bodies healing potential.

We do believe that HBOT therapy is ideal for the brain based on the way the brain functions, and how HBOT works.

For more information or a consult, please contact us at 319-320-1952 or email us at