Indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy : update

10-27-2008 | 

During the first half of the 20th century, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy was used to treat decompression sickness. Other indications have been added over the years, with the result that the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) now recommends HBO therapy for the prevention or treatment of 13 conditions.

However, with the exception of emergency situations such as decompression sickness and gas embolism, the applications of HBO therapy are still debated in the scientific literature. In this context, the Minister of Health and Social Services asked the Agence d’évaluation des technologies et des modes d’intervention en santé (AETMIS) to review the current state of knowledge concerning the use of HBO therapy to prevent and treat these 13 conditions.

It should be noted that few indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy have been rigorously studied and that the evidence is scarce. Obviously, for ethical reasons, certain conditions are not easily amenable to scientifi c research. Although they are not entirely concordant, the expert consensus are thus the main foundation for supporting and justifying the use of HBO therapy for most of the clinical indications. These expert consensuses are also opening up interesting avenues for new studies of better methodological quality and future clinical experiments.



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