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Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective for Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects about 5.3 million people in the United States, or one out of every 60 Americans. It is a type of Anoxic Brain Injury that is caused by trauma to the head/brain from a variety of external factors. Depending on the severity of the injury, the survivor can suffer from cognitive, communicative, and behavioral disabilities.

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective for Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the BIA of America Fact Sheet, falls are the biggest cause of traumatic brain disability, affecting an estimated 40.5% of TBI cases. Other causes include striking or being struck against something hard (15.5%), auto accidents (14.3%), assaults (10.7%), and other events (19%). Considering the high likelihood of any of these events, statistics suggest that some in the US sustains a brain injury every 9 seconds.

There is no known effective clinical treatment for TBI patients. However, some studies suggest that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can offer some kind of relief and reduce mortality for TBI patients in the following ways:

  • Improved tissue oxygenation – HBO treatment involves inhaling 100% pure oxygen at atmospheric pressure. 97% of the oxygen is bound to hemoglobin in the red blood cells, while the rest is carried in solution, allowing every cell in your body to receive optimal oxygen, even in obstructed areas with damaged cells where red blood cells cannot reach or at low blood flow rates. Increasing brain tissue oxygenation improves the wellbeing of TBI patients and reduces mortality.
  • Suppressing inflammation – Acute inflammatory response contributes to secondary brain damage following TBI, which can result in microvascular adherence, neutrophil activation, or cytokine release. HBOT helps to suppress inflammation, which in turn reduces blood brain barrier leakage, brain edema, and cell apoptosis, while improving neurological disorders following TBI.
  • ICP reduction – Elevated levels of ICP are the biggest cause of morbidity and death in patients with severe TBI. Fortunately, studies show that HBOT helps to lower ICP for patients with head injury

Although the benefits of HBOT for TBI vary from patient to patient, you may experience some improvements following one or more daily treatments of HBOT administered over a period of between one week and several months, depending on the severity of the problem and individual response to the treatment. Please visit a nearby HBOT clinic to find out more about HBOT for TBI patients.

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