Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: No Effect on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for mild traumatic injury provides no benefit. At least for this protocol, hyperbaric oxygen treatment is no better than placebo.

Journal of Neurotrauma. November 2012


J Neurotrauma. 2012 Nov 20;29(17):2606-12. doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2549. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

The effect of hyperbaric oxygen on symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury.


Abstract In this single-center, double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled, prospective trial at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, the effects of 2.4 atmospheres absolute (ATA) hyperbaric oxygen (HBO(2)) on post-concussion symptoms in 50 military service members with at least one combat-related, mild traumatic brain injury were examined. Each subject received 30 sessions of either a sham compression (room air at 1.3 ATA) or HBO(2) treatments at 2.4 ATA over an 8-week period. Individual and total symptoms scores on Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT(®)) and composite scores on Post-traumatic Disorder Check List-Military Version (PCL-M) were measured just prior to intervention and 6 weeks after completion of intervention. Difference testing of post-intervention means between the sham-control and HBO(2) group revealed no significant differences on the PCL-M composite score (t=-0.205, p=0.84) or on the ImPACT total score (t=-0.943, p=0.35), demonstrating no significant effect for HBO(2) at 2.4 ATA. PCL-M composite scores and ImPACT total scores for sham-control and HBO(2) groups revealed significant improvement over the course of the study for both the sham-control group (t=3.76, p=0.001) and the HBO(2) group (t=3.90, p=0.001), demonstrating no significant HBO(2) effect. Paired t-test results revealed 10 ImPACT scale scores in the sham-control group improved from pre- to post-testing, whereas two scale scores significantly improved in the HBO(2) group. One PCL-M measure improved from pre- to post-testing in both groups. This study showed that HBO(2) at 2.4 ATA pressure had no effect on post-concussive symptoms after mild TBI.


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