Hyperbaric oxygen therapy after spinal cord injury. A systematic literature review

  • Savvas K
  • Pneumaticos S
Keywords: Hyperbaric, Oxygen, Spinal, Cord, Injuries


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the inhalation of 100% pure O2 at increased pressure, i.e. at ambient pressure greater than 1 atm. The basic principles of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (ΗΒΟΤ) are based on the way in which the various gases – and especially O2 - behave and act upon the tissues and fluids of the human body, under the influence of different conditions of volume and pressure. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a very serious and complicated medical condition which greatly disrupts the patient’s life. Historically, this condition has been associated with very high morbidity and mortality rates.
In the present study, the latest research data on the effectiveness of this method regarding spinal cord injuries was studied. In order to achieve this purpose, the research tool of systematic literature review was chosen.
Discussion: The systematic literature review resulted in the detection of 13 relevant published articles after 2015. There were 3 randomized controlled studies, 2 non-randomized clinical studies, 4 case series and 4 case reports. In total, 557 patients participated in the study. The main result of the study was that HBOT is a totally safe and without any clinically significant side effects adjuvant therapy for the treatment of SCIs, producing various degrees of improvement of the motor and sensory neurological condition of the patients suffering from various types of SCIs, along with their psychological condition.
Conclusion: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a totally safe adjuvant treatment method for patients suffering from spinal cord injuries, having the potential to improve both the neurological status (motor and sensory) and the psychological condition of the affected patients. Further research is needed to obtain specific guidelines in relation to the indications and the application protocols of the method.


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Author Biographies

Savvas K

Postgraduate Training Program, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, KAT General Hospital of Athens, Greece.

Pneumaticos S

3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, KAT Hospital, Athens, Greece.


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