HBOT For Traumatic Brain Injury/ Post-Concussion Syndrome/ Coma


Traumatic brain injury is a direct (impact to the head) or indirect (shaking as in whiplash or “shaken baby”) mechanical injury to the brain that results in tearing, stretching, or shearing of tissue, secondary inflammation, and neurological dysfunction. Up to 55% of all mild TBI patients develop the persistent post-concussion syndrome characterized by cognitive symptoms, headache, irritability, sleep disruption, fatigue, dizziness, depression, anxiety, apathy, and change in personality. Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion. Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that usually happens after a blow to the head. It can also occur with violent shaking and movement of the head or body. You don't have to lose consciousness to get a concussion or post-concussion syndrome. A coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness that can be caused by a variety of problems — traumatic head injury, stroke, brain tumour, drug or alcohol intoxication, or even an underlying illness, such as diabetes or an infection.

Benefits of HBOT :

HBOT is the only therapy that directly treats the underlying disease processes of TBI (decreased oxygen, decreased blood flow, swelling of the brain, constriction of blood vessels, acidosis, and anaerobic metabolism). HBOT has been shown in multiple studies to have the greatest reduction in mortality of any therapy. One to three sessions of HBOT in the acute period can decrease the mortality by 50-60%. There is very little published experience of HBOT in mild TBI, but many patients have been treated within the first week after concussion/mild TBI. With just a few treatments, most patients experience near complete or complete relief of symptoms. For patients with the persistent post-concussion syndrome, HBOT is the most effective therapy known. The proposed mechanism of action of hyperbaric oxygen in traumatic brain injury is that increasing oxygenation of blood and tissues to supraphysiological levels results in the improvement of neuronal functioning by the reactivation of metabolic or electrical pathways. Stem cell mobilization to sites of injury, immune modulation and impact on neurotransmitters have also been hypothesized as possible mechanisms. Currently, the value of using hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of mental illness has not been well-established. HBOT is being studied in the treatment of concussion and post-concussion syndrome with promising results. Concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury, is a common sports injury. In concussion, the brain tissue is bruised when it impacts the inflexible skull due to a blow or jolt to the head causing an inflammatory response and swelling of the tissue as the brain responds to injury. The rationale for the use of HBOT is based on its ability to dramatically increase, by 2-3 times, the delivery of oxygen to injured brain tissues to promote healing, and reduce swelling, inflammation and increased pressure in the brain. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to cut the recovery time and aid in the healing process of Post-Concussion Syndrome.

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