One of the more disturbing results of traumatic brain injury is that secondary damage can often occur after the initial trauma. Such secondary damage can lower oxygen levels in the brain-making tissue oxygenation through hyperbaric oxygen therapy a potentially promising therapy for traumatic brain injury.
A recent animal study confirmed that a single treatment of hyperbaric oxygen therapy does indeed reduce secondary brain damage after injury. However, the benefit occurred only if the single treatment was administered within 6 hours of the initial injury. The benefit was considerably lessened if therapy was administered 12 hours after injury, and no benefit was seen if therapy was delayed even longer.
Although the best time for a single treatment of hyperbaric oxygen treatment was within 6 hours after injury, multiple treatments applied later (up to 2 days after injury) could also reduce injury and recover function. The most significant benefit, however, was a single treatment within 6 hours of injury.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is therefore a potentially useful treatment for traumatic brain injury, but only within limited time frames.
Wang G-H, Zhang X-G, Jiang Z-L, et al. Neuroprotective effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment of traumatic brain injury of rat. Journal of Neurotrauma. (June 2010).