Monday, January 4, 2010

Hyperbaric Oxygenation for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

I recently read a blog entry titled "Why we don’t use hyperbaric oxygen for cerebral palsy but the Chinese do" and it got me thinking once again about hyperbarics and how it has helped our son. The post is a short commentary about hyperbarics and governments' willingness (or unwillingness) to utilize the therapy to treat brain injury.

The blog post references an article, the summary of which is below.

“Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen possibly reduces mortality and neurological sequelae in term neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Because of the poor quality of reporting in all trials and the possibility of publication bias, an adequately powered, high quality randomised controlled trial is needed to investigate these findings. The Chinese medical literature may be a rich source of evidence to inform clinical practice and other systematic reviews.”
-Clinical effectiveness of treatment with hyperbaric oxygen for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy: systematic review of Chinese literature (published 11 May 2006)

After doing much research (some of which I've written about on this blog) we decided to provide our son with 40 hours of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) when he was 12 months old. Because he responded so well to his first round of HBOT, including decreased spasticity and increased vision, we went back for 40 more sessions 6 months later, this time coupled with intensive pediatric therapy. We witnessed continued improvements. Our son is now over 2 years old and we recently made the decision to purchase a soft chamber to provide him with hyperbaric air therapy (HBT or HBAT) at home.

We made this decision in part because the studies I am aware of have shown improvements in patients treated with pressurized room air (HBT or HBAT) as well as patients breathing oxygen in a hyperbaric environment (HBOT). Due to the increased atmospheric pressure, both groups benefit from increased oxygen absorption.

"The results of the only truly randomized trial were difficult to interpret because of the use of pressurized room air in the control group. As both groups improved, the benefit of pressurized air and of HBOT at 1.3 to 1.5 atm should both be examined in future studies."
-Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Stroke