Treating Brain Injury with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, abbreviated HBO or HBOT, is a unique medical treatment that uses high dose oxygen to speed and enhance the body’s natural ability to heal. HBOT is approved by the American Medical Association, FDA, and Medicare. Persons who may benefit from HBOT suffer from various diseases or injuries associated with hypoxia (lack of oxygen on a cellular level). It is at this cellular level where all life takes place.

Oxygen is dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph, and the bone, carrying it to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. The increased oxygen can greatly enhance the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduce swelling, and allow new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.

In many cases, such as circulatory problems, non-healing wounds, and strokes, adequate oxygen cannot reach the damaged area and the body’s natural healing ability is unable to function properly. HBOT provides this extra oxygen naturally and with minimal side effects.

TBI patient during HBOT

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Benefits

  • Increases tissue oxygenation in the brain*
  • Slows and reverses hypoxic induced apoptosis*
  • Restores blood supply to the compromised region of the brain*
  • Generates new capillary networks (neovascularization)*
  • Aids other regenerative therapies, such as PRP and stem cell therapies*

*Results may vary; no guarantee of specific results

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Oxygen

hyperbaric chamber

Benefits for Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. About 70 – 90% of TBI cases are classified as mild, and up to 25% of affected patients will not recover and suffer chronic neurocognitive impairments. The main pathology in these cases involves diffuse brain injuries, which are hard to detect by anatomical imaging yet noticeable in functional imaging that measures tissue metabolism in the brain.

Many studies show the effectiveness of HBOT in improving brain function and quality of life in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients suffering chronic neurocognitive impairments. The common conclusion is that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity, leading to repair of chronically impaired brain functions and improved quality of life in mTBI patients with prolonged post-concussion syndrome (PCS) at late chronic stage. Studies also reveal that HBOT can reduce cognitive impairment related to memory performance and connectivity using functional MRI.

At TBI Therapy, HBOT is used to treat brain injury as part of a regenerative therapy protocol: the TBI Therapy Protocol. Patient sessions in a hyperbaric chamber are designed to stimulate growth factors promoted in PRP therapy and the production of stem cells in regenerative cellular therapy.

“The brain is in a metabolic crisis in a concussion, potassium ion from inside the cell going extracellular, calcium ions going intracellular, neurotransmitters widely released in a chaotic manner. It takes energy to pump that potassium back, put the neurotransmitters back on so the cell can function.” Robert Cantu, MD

At-Home Chambers

HBOT “soft” chambers can be purchased for at-home use. These chambers offer similar benefits one can find at a HBOT center, but may need to put more hours in. This can save you money and time from traveling and visiting a HBOT center. At-home chambers come in various sizes, shapes, and costs.

Colorado Center for Hyperbaric Medicine

The Colorado Center for Hyperbaric Medicine is the premiere institute for hyperbaric oxygen therapy and natural healing in the rocky mountains. Our partner, Kirk Hartley owns, manages, and operates this high class facility 20 minutes from Aspen, Colorado. If patients choose to visit our Basalt clinic, they will receive the utmost care from Kirk during their HBOT sessions. Learn more about his clinic at cohyperbarics.com 

Informative Videos on HBOT by Dr. Scott Sherr

Dr. Sherr joined Dr. Peter Kechejian for this "Pain is the PITS" Podcast to talk in greater detail about HBOT.