A 5-year-long traumatic brain injury study conducted at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN, concluded recently, with the results published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The study results revealed that treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in the first 24 hours after a brain injury improved brain metabolism and enhanced the brain’s ability to recover, a PR Newswire release reported.
The article noted that ‘Decreased utilization of oxygenated blood to brain tissue immediately after the injury is often to blame,’ for irreversible brain damage associated with severe traumatic brain injuries. Further, an initial brain injury can cause fast swelling in the patient’s brain, which leads to a secondary brain injury due to the increasing pressure.
Brain cells require oxygen for producing energy on which to function. In the case of a brain injury, the brain needs external support in order to continue functioning properly. The hyperbaric oxygen study showed that that treatment significantly enhanced the brains ability to produce energy and reduced pressure inside the skull.
The study participants were split into three groups at random. All eligible patients had incurred a brain injury less than 24 hours before becoming part of the study. One group received normobaric oxygen treatment delivered at the patients’ bedsides. Another group received no oxygen therapy. The third group underwent treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. All patients received the intensive standard of care currently in place for treating brain injuries.
The PR Newswire article reported that, ‘The patients who received higher levels of oxygen (hyperoxia) via the hyperbaric oxygen chamber were found to have a marked increase in positive brain metabolism when compared to the normobaric and control group.’ The results fare well for brain injury patients. In a few short years, the standard of care may be changed to include treatment in hyperbaric oxygen chambers.
In order to change the standard of care, the researchers must next conduct a National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported multitrial. ‘NIH trials directly assess the ability to improve clinical outcomes, which is the final step needed to change standard clinical processes,’ the article reported.
The Traumatic Brain Injury Center at the Hennepin County Medical Center continues to research possible improvements in brain injury treatment and recovery, while treating the most brain injury patients in the state of MN each year.
PRNewswire-USNewswire. (January 4, 2010) ‘Hyperbaric Oxygen Study Shows Potential Benefit for Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury.’ Retrieved from the PR Newswire website:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hyperbaric-oxygen-study-shows-po…