Can Hyperbaric Therapy Treat COVID-19?
The coronavirus outbreak has created an international impact on the health of individuals. It is spreading rapidly and affecting multiple countries at exponential speed. As a result, multiple laboratories and medical research facilities across the globe are trying to create a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.
Every government or private containment center is currently working to create a treatment or drug that is effective in supporting individuals suffering from this deadly virus. From monitoring equipment such as oximeters to ventilators, the demand for supporting medicine is also increasing.
In this crucial situation, HBOT is surfacing as a potential treatment for coronavirus disease. Since COVID-19 is closely related to the symptoms of pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, hyperbaric therapy can help in relieving symptoms through 100% oxygen supply at high pressures.
Below we have discussed HBOT and its relation to COVID-19. Read on to gain more information.
How HBOT Can Help COVID-19 Patients?
Before we understand how HBOT therapy is effective in COVID-19, let’s see what the prominent symptoms of the disease are.
- Cold and cough
- Shortness of breath, leading to persistent pain in the chest and breathing issues
The above symptoms can also lead to low oxygen levels or progressive hypoxemia. In this case, the patient needs to be shifted to the ventilator to improve oxygen levels and reduce the chances of death from breathlessness.
HBOT therapy is useful when there’s a low supply of oxygen. Due to the extreme impact of COVID-19, the patient suffers inflammation in the lungs and surrounding tissues. This restricts the proper flow of oxygen to the heart and other body organs. HBOT therapy can offer extra oxygen to the body through a chamber of reduced pressure. This enables the oxygen to enter body fluids and reach infected areas.
With the increase in oxygen supply to the lungs, heart, and other body parts, a direct solution to hypoxemia is received. In high-pressure conditions, oxygen is traversed even through inflamed lungs or thickened walls, which reduces the need for the ventilator.
With regular sessions of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, labored breathing can be reduced, respiratory functions can be restored, and proper appetite, including other functions, can be gained.
What Do You need To Know?
While HBOT therapy can offer a possible treatment for COVID-19, there are still concerns about this treatment. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, HBOT chambers can become harmful for patients. This is why every facility that is offering HBOT treatment for COVID-19 is also evaluating risks of the treatment and taking appropriate measures to avoid spreading it to healthy patients. For confirmed patients, comorbidities, transportation possibilities, safety measures, etc. are being assessed before the treatment.
A document released by UHMS offers information on how to prevent infection spread, address the issue of patient selection, and provide a safe environment to both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in multi-place and mono-place facilities. Check out the document here.
In a more recent release, EUBS and ECHM have revealed that HBOT can be beneficial in the case of certain COVID-19 cases.
Overall, HBOT therapy can reduce multiple severe and critical level symptoms of COVID-19 by offering proper oxygen supply to the human body.
Research About HBOT as a Potential COVID-19 Treatment
One of the most popular research was conducted by IHA. In this report, it is explained how Dr. Ruiyong Chen and DR, Zhong Yangling conducted HBOT sessions for 3 severe and 2 critical patients of COVID-19. All 5 patients were given HBOT at 1.4-1.6 ATA to fight signs of hypoxemia. The results were satisfactory just after the first session of HBOT therapy.
In the report released by IHA on HBOT therapy’s effectiveness in COVID-19 and related hypoxemia, the following results were observed.
- Quick-relief in symptoms of COVID-19.
- Correction or reduction in hypoxemia.
- Reversal of other COVID-19
- Reduced lung inflammation.
It is necessary to observe that HBOT therapy is able to treat COVID-19 on a symptomatic level rather than an etiological level.
Here are a few sources where you can find more information on this topic:
The UHMS is the primary information center to understand how HBOT can be used in the case of COVID-19 cases. Check the position statement given by the organization for Chinese studies and the effectiveness of hyperbaric therapy.
Ochsner Health System conducts clinical trials to evaluate if HBOT therapy can actually reduce the mortality rate, decrease hypoxia, and reduce the chances of organ failure.
Undoubtedly, HBOT therapy has the power to ease the symptoms in critical COVID-19 cases. However, this action should be conducted under the strict guidance of medical professionals and a team of individuals who are equipped to handle the HBOT unit. It is not advisable to self-treat a COVID-19 patient at home in an HBOT unit. Consult a doctor to understand the consequences and possible benefits before moving ahead.