Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy improve recovery from a stroke?
Answer From Raymond C. Shields, M.D.
Possibly. Some studies have found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy — which involves breathing pure oxygen in a special pressurized chamber — may help improve problems associated with strokes, such as memory loss, language and reduced comprehension.
The theory behind using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for stroke is that increasing the supply of oxygen to the parts of the brain affected by stroke may lessen brain swelling and protect brain cells, reducing the extent of irreversible brain damage and leading to better outcomes.
So far, however, studies have been limited to small numbers of people, and the long-term benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for stroke have yet to be established. So at this time, further investigation is necessary before this type of therapy can be endorsed as a treatment for stroke.
Oct. 16, 2020
Raymond C. Shields, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Gonzales‑Portillo B, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: A new look on treating stroke and traumatic brain injury. Brain Circulation. 2019; doi:10.4103/bc.bc_31_19.
- Hadanny A, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves neurocognitive functions of post-stroke patients: A retrospective analysis. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. 2020; doi:10.3233/RNN-190959.
- Mechem CC, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.