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Concept: Diving medicine


Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a persistent and debilitating disorder estimated to impair the quality of life of 2-4% of the population, with 9:1 female-to-male incidence ratio. FMS is an important representative example of central nervous system sensitization and is associated with abnormal brain activity. Key symptoms include chronic widespread pain, allodynia and diffuse tenderness, along with fatigue and sleep disturbance. The syndrome is still elusive and refractory. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on symptoms and brain activity in FMS.

Concepts: Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Oxygen toxicity, Nervous system, Hyperbaric medicine, Central nervous system, Brain, Oxygen


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in the US. Approximately 70-90% of the TBI cases are classified as mild, and up to 25% of them 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 metabolic imaging. The current study tested the effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in improving brain function and quality of life in mTBI patients suffering chronic neurocognitive impairments.

Concepts: Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Post-concussion syndrome, Oxygen toxicity, Hyperbaric medicine, Concussion, Oxygen, Traumatic brain injury


BACKGROUND: Recovery after stroke correlates with non-active (stunned) brain regions, which may persist for years. The current study aimed to evaluate whether increasing the level of dissolved oxygen by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) could activate neuroplasticity in patients with chronic neurologic deficiencies due to stroke. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A prospective, randomized, controlled trial including 74 patients (15 were excluded). All participants suffered a stroke 6-36 months prior to inclusion and had at least one motor dysfunction. After inclusion, patients were randomly assigned to “treated” or “cross” groups. Brain activity was assessed by SPECT imaging; neurologic functions were evaluated by NIHSS, ADL, and life quality. Patients in the treated group were evaluated twice: at baseline and after 40 HBOT sessions. Patients in the cross group were evaluated three times: at baseline, after a 2-month control period of no treatment, and after subsequent 2-months of 40 HBOT sessions. HBOT protocol: Two months of 40 sessions (5 days/week), 90 minutes each, 100% oxygen at 2 ATA. We found that the neurological functions and life quality of all patients in both groups were significantly improved following the HBOT sessions while no improvement was found during the control period of the patients in the cross group. Results of SPECT imaging were well correlated with clinical improvement. Elevated brain activity was detected mostly in regions of live cells (as confirmed by CT) with low activity (based on SPECT) - regions of noticeable discrepancy between anatomy and physiology. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that HBOT can lead to significant neurological improvements in post stroke patients even at chronic late stages. The observed clinical improvements imply that neuroplasticity can still be activated long after damage onset in regions where there is a brain SPECT/CT (anatomy/physiology) mismatch. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00715897.

Concepts: Neurology, Oxygen mask, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Oxygen toxicity, Medicine, Hyperbaric medicine, Oxygen


The Warburg effect and tumor hypoxia underlie a unique cancer metabolic phenotype characterized by glucose dependency and aerobic fermentation. We previously showed that two non-toxic metabolic therapies - the ketogenic diet with concurrent hyperbaric oxygen (KD+HBOT) and dietary ketone supplementation - could increase survival time in the VM-M3 mouse model of metastatic cancer. We hypothesized that combining these therapies could provide an even greater therapeutic benefit in this model. Mice receiving the combination therapy demonstrated a marked reduction in tumor growth rate and metastatic spread, and lived twice as long as control animals. To further understand the effects of these metabolic therapies, we characterized the effects of high glucose (control), low glucose (LG), ketone supplementation (βHB), hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT), or combination therapy (LG+βHB+HBOT) on VM-M3 cells. Individually and combined, these metabolic therapies significantly decreased VM-M3 cell proliferation and viability. HBOT, alone or in combination with LG and βHB, increased ROS production in VM-M3 cells. This study strongly supports further investigation into this metabolic therapy as a potential non-toxic treatment for late-stage metastatic cancers.

Concepts: Oxygen toxicity, Hyperbaric medicine, Diving medicine, Cancer, Metastasis, Medical treatments, Oncology, Oxygen


An increase in interstitial fluid is an expression of bone marrow edema (BME) and osteonecrosis (ON). The exact pathogenetic processes still remain unknown. Treatment options are mainly symptomatic with core decompression as surgical golden standard with immediate pain relief. Recently, it has been shown that intravenous iloprost can be used to achieve a reduction in BME and ON with a considerable improvement in the accompanying symptoms. The effect of intraveneously applied iloprost alone (12 patients) was studied against core decompression alone (12 patients) as well as iloprost following core decompression (12 patients). We could find a significant improvement in HHS, WOMAC score, SF-36 score and VAS 3 months and 1 year after therapeutical intervention in all treatment groups; however, statistically best results were obtained by combination. Concerning the MRI scans, we found a distinct reduction in BME in all groups again favoring the combination. Concerning ON, the results were not as promising as for BME. Intravenous prostacyclin and core decompression as monotherapy are of efficient therapeutical benefit in the treatment of BME, and the combination of both methods, however, seems to be most promising, also in the treatment of ON. Long-term results and higher number of patients are needed for final statements.

Concepts: Epiphysis, Osteochondritis dissecans, Diving medicine, Femur head, Bone marrow, Dysbaric osteonecrosis, Lymphatic system, Avascular necrosis


While the importance of oxygen to the wound healing process is well accepted, research and technological advances continue in this field and efforts are ongoing to further utilize oxygen as a therapeutic modality. In this paper, the authors briefly review the role of oxygen in wound healing and discuss the distinct mechanism of action as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the three major oxygen-based therapies currently in clinical use (Hyperbaric Oxygen and Topical Oxygen and Continuous Diffusion of Oxygen), as well as review the existing literature regarding these distinct therapeutic modalities.

Concepts: Diving medicine, Scar, Modality, Oxygen toxicity, Hyperbaric medicine, Oxygen, Healing, Wound healing


In 2015 the German Society for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine (GTÜM) and the Swiss Underwater and Hyperbaric Medical Society (SUHMS) published the updated guidelines on diving accidents 2014-2017. These multidisciplinary guidelines were developed within a structured consensus process by members of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the Sports Divers Association (VDST), the Naval Medical Institute (SchiffMedInst), the Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Building Trade (BG BAU), the Association of Hyperbaric Treatment Centers (VDD) and the Society of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM). This consensus-based guidelines project (development grade S2k) with a representative group of developers was conducted by the Association of Scientific Medical Societies in Germany. It provides information and instructions according to up to date evidence to all divers and other lay persons for first aid recommendations to physician first responders and emergency physicians as well as paramedics and all physicians at therapeutic hyperbaric chambers for the diagnostics and treatment of diving accidents. To assist in implementing the guideline recommendations, this article summarizes the rationale, purpose and the following key action statements: on-site 100 % oxygen first aid treatment, still patient positioning and fluid administration are recommended. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) recompression remains unchanged the established treatment in severe cases with no therapeutic alternatives. The basic treatment scheme recommended for diving accidents is hyperbaric oxygenation at 280 kPa. For quality management purposes there is a need in the future for a nationwide register of hyperbaric therapy.

Concepts: Oxygen toxicity, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, First aid, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Medicine, Oxygen, Hyperbaric medicine


To analyze the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of radiation-induced hemorrhagic cystitis and to identify factors associated with successful treatment.

Concepts: Medical treatments, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Oxygen mask, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Oxygen toxicity, Hyperbaric medicine, Oxygen


We solved the Laplace equation for the radius of an arterial gas embolism (AGE), during and after breath-hold diving. We used a simple three-region diffusion model for the AGE, and applied our results to two types of breath-hold dives: single, very deep competitive-level dives and repetitive shallower breath-hold dives similar to those carried out by indigenous commercial pearl divers in the South Pacific. Because of the effect of surface tension, AGEs tend to dissolve in arterial blood when in arteries remote from supersaturated tissue. However if, before fully dissolving, they reach the capillary beds that perfuse the brain and the inner ear, they may become inflated with inert gas that is transferred into them from these contiguous temporarily supersaturated tissues. By using simple kinetic models of cerebral and inner ear tissue, the Nitrogen tissue partial pressures during and after the dive(s) were determined. These were used to theoretically calculate AGE growth and dissolution curves for AGEs lodged in capillaries of the brain and inner ear. From these curves it was found that both Cerebral and Inner Ear Decompression Sickness are expected to occur occasionally in single competitive-level dives. It was also determined from these curves that for the commercial repetitive dives considered, the duration of the surface interval (the time interval separating individual repetitive dives from one another) was a key determinant, as to whether Inner Ear and/or Cerebral decompression sickness arose. Our predictions both for single competitive-level and repetitive commercial breath-hold diving were consistent with what is known about the incidence Cerebral and Inner Ear Decompression Sickness in these forms of diving.

Concepts: Underwater diving, Diving medicine, Air embolism, Industrial injury, Embolism, Nitrogen, Blood vessel, Blood


Bites by Loxosceles spiders (also known as recluse spiders or brown spiders) can cause necrotic ulcerations of various sizes and dimensions. The current standard of care for brown spider bites includes analgesics, ice, compression, elevation, antihistamines, and surgical debridement. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in the treatment of brown spider bites has been administered in the early stage of ulceration, or 2 to 6 days after the bite. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of spider bite-related ulcers is often delayed and weeks or months may elapse before HBOT is considered.

Concepts: Oxygen mask, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, Oxygen toxicity, Hyperbaric medicine, Brown recluse spider, Spider bite, Oxygen