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HBOT and Stroke

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Stroke

Stroke is a neurological deficit resulting from interruption of blood supply to the brain. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability and remains one of the diseases most resistant to treatment. The most common type is thrombotic stroke where a blood clot forms in a major artery due to disease of the artery. This is very similar to myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack.

HBOT for acute and chronic stroke is based on Henry's Law which states that the amount of a gas, e.g. oxygen, that is dissolved in a liquid solution, e.g. blood, is proportional to the pressure of the gas interfacing with that solution. Since nearly 98-99% of hemoglobin in blood is saturated with oxygen at sea level all additional oxygen added by hyperbaric oxygen exposure is dissolved in the liquid plasma portion of the blood. It is this dissolved oxygen that exerts its drug effect on the pathology and pathophysiology in stroke and the other neuropathologies described on this website. In the history of hyperbaric medicine over 30 animal studies and 25-30 human studies have been published on HBOT in stroke. The best review of these is in Chapter 17 of the Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine by K. K. Jain, 3rd Edition, 1999.