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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for traumatic brain injury

Lei Huang1 and Andre Obenaus12345*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biophysics & Bioengineering, Loma Linda University, Griggs Hall, Room 227, 11065 Campus St., Loma Linda, California, 92354, USA

2 Department of Pediatrics, Loma Linda University, CSP A1010, 11175 Campus St., Loma Linda, California, 92354, USA

3 Department of Radiology, Loma Linda University Medical Center, CSP A1010, 11175 Campus St., Loma Linda, California, 92354, USA

4 Department of Radiation Medicine, Loma Linda University, CSP A1010, 11175 Campus St., Loma Linda, California, 92354, USA

5 Department of Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, 1140 Batchelor Hall, University of California, Riverside, California, 92521, USA

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Medical Gas Research 2011, 1:21  doi:10.1186/2045-9912-1-21

Published: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue. The complexity of TBI has precluded the use of effective therapies. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to be neuroprotective in multiple neurological disorders, but its efficacy in the management of TBI remains controversial. This review focuses on HBOT applications within the context of experimental and clinical TBI. We also discuss its potential neuroprotective mechanisms. Early or delayed multiple sessions of low atmospheric pressure HBOT can reduce intracranial pressure, improve mortality, as well as promote neurobehavioral recovery. The complimentary, synergistic actions of HBOT include improved tissue oxygenation and cellular metabolism, anti-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Thus HBOT may serve as a promising neuroprotective strategy that when combined with other therapeutic targets for TBI patients which could improve long-term outcomes.

Keywords:
intracranial pressure; metabolism; apoptosis; inflammation; tissue oxygenation; cerebral blood flow