New Scientific Study Finds Evidence of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Efficacy for Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

March 26, 2022

HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen Promotes Symptomatic and Cognitive Improvements for Patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome in a Narrow Range of Pressure

New Orleans, LA — March 26, 2022: Today, IPAK announced the publication of a systematic review (latest study) on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) efficacy in mild traumatic brain injury Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome (PPCS).

Following multiple randomized and randomized controlled studies, the review found HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen to provide improvements in symptoms and cognition for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. These improvements — ranging from solely symptomatic to both cognitive and symptomatic — are significant enough to satisfy recommendations set in place for HBOT treatments by the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The systematic review concludes that HBOT meets the highest level of scientific evidence and merits a Grade A Practice Recommendation, that HBOT should be delivered to patients with persistent postconcussion syndrome unless a “clear and compelling rationale for an alternative approach is present.”

Dr. Paul Harch, principal investigator for the study, says the contribution is reassuring to those questioning the efficacy of HBOT. “This scientific review brings clarity at last to the confusion and controversy surrounding traumatic brain injury and hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” he said. “The Level 1 Evidence and Grade A Practice Recommendation will allow this life and quality-of-life-saving therapy to give people back their lives.”

Patients undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy by breathing increased oxygen while under increased pressure. This allows the lungs to dissolve increased amounts of oxygen in blood that is delivered by the circulation to all areas of the body, especially those wounded tissues with less oxygen.  In conjunction with the increased amount of pressure the oxygen and pressure stimulate the body’s natural healing process to repair the wounds in traumatic brain injury.

Harch’s study reviewed how the intensity of oxygen dosage and pressure impacted treatment, finding that both positive and negative results occurred with high and low doses.  Surprisingly, the most influential effects occurred with increased pressure within a narrow range.  The elucidation of the independent and combined effects of oxygen and pressure for the first time in the 360-year history of hyperbaric medicine represents a key advance to the field of hyperbaric medicine, medicine, and neurorehabilitation.

More importantly, this is uplifting news for patients with PPCS, who can experience concussion-like symptoms even when at rest, as well as following physical and/or cognitive exertion. Over time, this may significantly impact their sleep, behavioral, cognitive, and physical performance.

PPCS is experienced by 10-15% of individuals who’ve experienced a concussion, including high school athletes, and as many as 44% of those with loss of consciousness.  Currently, there is no standard of care for the treatment of individuals with PPCS.  This systematic review now shows that there is more than hope, there is treatment.

About Paul G. Harch, M.D.: Paul G. Harch is a hyperbaric medicine clinician and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Section of Emergency Medicine, LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans. Two of the studies in the systematic review were published by Dr. Harch under LSU’s IRB approval.  Dr. Harch’s research with hyperbaric oxygen treatment has encompassed a wide range of neurological conditions, including decompression sickness, Alzheimer’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and childhood drowning.



Paul G. Harch, M.D. (LSU) or James Lyons-Weiler, PhD



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