Wounded Troops Report Relief from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
DoD is Waiting for Results from Studies Before Endorsing it
By Patricia Kime
Retired Army Sgt. Margaux Vair believes breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber eased the manifestations of her brain injury — migraines, memory loss and facial paralysis.
Vair, a military policewoman, was on deployment in Iraq in 2006 when her Humvee struck a roadside bomb, smashing herhead against the turret and briefly knocking her out. Three days later, she returned to duty and served three more months — until her vehicle rolled over another bomb.
“That’s when the nerve problems started,” she said. “I don’t know when the headaches began.”
Today, the Kent, Ohio, resident shows little evidence of paralysis and the headaches have faded — improvements she attributes to treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, the same pressurized units used for healing scuba divers with the bends.
A growing body of anecdotal evidence appears to indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, helps patients with traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder.