Spinal Cord Injuries
An estimated 291,000 persons live with a spinal cord injury (SCI), with roughly 17,730 new cases occurring each year1. Current research and treatments focus on reducing the “secondary injury cascade” that begins immediately after the initial spinal cord trauma2. This cascade occurs during either the sub-acute (weeks to months after initial injury) or chronic phase (months to years after initial injury), or during both 3. The severity of secondary damage directly impacts further bodily damage and the restorative process. Research has shown a correlation between reduced secondary damage and improved neurological outcomes4, 5. HBOT increases oxygen to the damaged spinal cord tissue, decreasing cell death and damage which can occur for weeks to months after initial injury6, 7. Additionally, HBOT decreases spinal cord edema and inflammation 3 and has been shown to reduce synaptic and dendritic degeneration in animal models8. Check out our “Testimonials” page to hear about one of our patient’s experience receiving HBOT for spinal cord injury.
HBOT Research Shows Improvement To:
- Reduces cell death
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces oxidative stress
Listen to Ryley’s experience with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat his Spinal Cord Injury
Benefits of HBOT for Spinal Cord Injuries:
Maximizes Oxygen Transport
Allows for 100% saturation of hemoglobin molecules. Additional O2 molecules then dissolve directly into the plasma (the fluid component of blood) for transport.
Prevents Further Cellular Damage
Preserves the integrity of blood vessel cells. This cellular protection helps improve blood flow to tissues and organs when damaged by conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Reduces Inflammation & Swelling
Suppresses the cellular activity of the immune system which triggers swelling when an injury or damage to the body occurs. While this reaction is meant to start healing and protect from injury it can result in secondary injury, pain, and prolonged recovery time.
Key Research on Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury
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Evaluation of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for spinal cord injury in rats with different treatment course using diffusion tensor imaging.
Animal study. To evaluate the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats with different treatment course using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Hospital in Fuzhou, China. Fifty adult Sprague-Dawley rats were grouped as: (A) sham-operated group (n = 10); (B) SCI without HBO therapy group (n = 10); (C) SCI with HBO therapy for 2 weeks (SCI+HBO) group (n = 10); (D) SCI with HBO therapy for 4 weeks (SCI+HBO) group (n = 10); (E) SCI with HBO therapy for 6 weeks (SCI+HBO) group (n = 10). Basso Beattie Bresnahan (BBB) scores and diffusion tensor imaging parameters including fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusion (RD), and axial diffusion (AD) values in the injury epicenter, as well as 2 mm rostral and caudal to the injury epicenter were collected and analyzed 6 weeks post-injury.
Effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on HMGB1/NF-κB expression and prognosis of acute spinal cord injury: A randomized clinical trial.
Although there are reports of the beneficial effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy in experimental settings, there are few clinical trials of HBO therapy for acute spinal cord injury (SCI). We investigated the effect of HBO in acute SCI by measuring plasma high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) levels, and by monitoring changes in electromyogram F-persistence (the percentage of discernible F-waves) and F-chronodispersion (the difference between minimal and maximal latency). We enrolled 79 acute SCI patients and randomly divided them into control (conventional treatment) and the treatment (conventional treatment plus HBO therapy) groups. Plasma was collected before treatment and after treatment on 1st, 3rd, 7th, 10th and 30th day for the measurement of HMGB1 and NF-κB. Electromyogram F-waves were detected before therapy and after therapy on the 10th and 30th days.
A case report of a 4-year-old boy with intradural spinal cord abscess successfully treated with adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Intradural spinal cord abscesses are rare infections in early childhood and usually result from pre-existing congenital anomalies of the spinal column. The formation of abscess may be the result of hematogenous spread. It is treated by surgical and parenteral antibiotic treatment, but some special cases may require additional treatments. This article presents a 4-year-old male patient who was operated because of spina bifida (meningocele and tethered cord) at the external center, and upon complains of not being able to walk after one month, he was operated with the diagnosis of spinal intradural abscess and referred to us to continue his treatment. The patient was taken into an emergency operation when the spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) taken in our hospital showed a progression of intradural abscess. Due to no regression of neurological deficits in the follow-up and with the risk of a second operation, application of antimicrobial therapy as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) was planned. At the end of 20 HBOT treatment sessions, the patient started to walk with support and the antibiotic treatment was completed in six weeks.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for spinal cord ischaemia after complex aortic repair – a retrospective review.
Complex aortic repair (CAR) carries high rates of debilitating postoperative complications, including spinal cord injury. The rate of spinal cord deficits post-CAR is approximately 10%, with permanent paraplegia in 2.9% and paraparesis in 2.4% of patients. Treatment options are limited. Rescue therapies include optimization of spinal cord perfusion and oxygen delivery by mean arterial pressure augmentation (> 90 mm Hg), cerebrospinal fluid drainage, and preservation of adequate haemoglobin concentration (> 100 g L?). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been described in several case reports as part of the multimodal treatment for spinal cord ischemia. HBOT has been used in our centre as adjunct rescue treatment for patients with spinal cord injury post-CAR that were refractory to traditional medical management, and we aimed to retrospectively review these cases. After Research Ethics Board approval, we performed a retrospective review of all post-CAR patients who developed spinal cord injury with severe motor deficit and were treated with HBOT at our institution since 2013. Seven patients with spinal cord injury after CAR were treated with HBOT in addition to traditional rescue therapies. Five patients showed varying degrees of recovery, with two displaying full recovery. One developed oxygen-induced seizure, medically treated. No other HBOT-related complications were noted. Our retrospective study shows a potential benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on neurological outcome in patients who developed spinal cord injury after CAR.
Perfluorocarbons (PFC) are fluorinated hydrocarbons that dissolve gases to a much greater degree than plasma and hold promise in treating decompression sickness (DCS). The efficacy of PFC in a mixed gender model of DCS and safety in recompression therapy has not been previously explored. Swine (25 kg; N = 104; 51 male and 53 female) were randomized into normal saline solution (NSS) or PFC emulsion treatment groups and subjected to compression on air in a hyperbaric chamber at 200 fsw for 31 min. Then the animals were decompressed and observed for signs of DCS. Afterwards, they were treated with oxygen and either PFC (4 cc · kg-1) or NSS (4 cc · kg-1). Surviving animals were observed for 4 h, at which time they underwent recompression therapy using a standard Navy Treatment Table 6. After 24 h the animals were assessed and then euthanized. Survival rates were not significantly different between NSS (74.04%) and PFC (66.67%) treatment groups.
Neuroprotective effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on neuronal death induced by sciatic nerve transection in rat.
Recent studies shows that hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy exerts some protective effects against neural injuries. The purpose of this study was to determine the neuroprotective effects of HBO following sciatic nerve transection (SNT). Rats were randomly divided into five groups (n = 14 per group): Sham-operated (SH) group, SH + HBO group, SNT group, and SNT + pre- and SNT + post-HBO groups (100% oxygen at 2.0 atm absolute, 60 min/day for five consecutive days beginning on 1 day before and immediately after nerve transaction, respectively). Spinal cord segments of the sciatic nerve and related dorsal root ganglions (DRGs) were removed 4 weeks after nerve transection for biochemical assessment of malodialdehyde (MDA) levels in spinal cord, biochemical assessment of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalse (CAT) activities in spinal cord, immunohistochemistry of caspase-3, cyclooxigenase-2 (COX-2), S100beta (S100ß), and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) in spinal cord and DRG. The results revealed that MDA levels were significantly decreased in the SNT + pre-HBO group, while SOD and CAT activities were significantly increased in SNT + pre- and SNT + post-HBO treated rats. Attenuated caspase-3 and COX-2 expression, and TUNEL reaction could be significantly detected in the HBO-treated rats after nerve transection. Also, HBO significantly increased S100ß expression. Based on these results, we can conclude that pre- and post-HBO therapy had neuroprotective effects against sciatic nerve transection-induced degeneration.
Hyperbaric oxygen ameliorated the lesion scope and nerve function in acute spinal cord injury patients: A retrospective study.
This is a retrospective study to assess the therapeutic effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) in early treatment of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electrophysiology in diagnosing. Forty acute SCI patients from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital who were assigned into HBO treatment were included during August 2013 to October 2014.The patients with adverse reactions or contraindications for HBO were assigned as controls. Both of two groups (HBO and Control) received medicine treatment with Urbason, GM-1 and mecobalamine after surgery. ASIA and the Frankel scores were used to evaluate the therapeutic effect of HBO at the 15th and 30th day after HBO treatment by using MRI and electrophysiology features. Significant therapeutic effect of HBO treatment on acute SCI patients was observed compared with the control group (P<0.05). Comparison for ASIA and Frankel scores showed that motor and neurological functions were significantly improved in HBO group at day 15 and day 30 post treatment. MRI images showed that the grade III injury in HBO group was significant lower than the control group. In comparison with the control, the peak of somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) and motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitude increased, the latency was shortened, and the conduction velocity of sensory nerve (SCV) and motor nerve (MCV) was significantly increased in the HBO group (P<0.05). HBO treatment has a great efficacy in acute SCI patients. HBO therapy at early stage of acute SCI is beneficiary to the recovery.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy after Acute Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury: Improvement of Locomotor Recovery in Rats.
The aim of this study was to analyze the effectiveness of hyperbaric therapy (HT) using mild and moderate models of spinal cord injury (SCI). SCI can cause permanent impairment with socioeconomic consequences. The motor deficit occurs by two mechanisms: destruction of neuronal cells and local inflammatory response, resulting in hypoxia. HT acts by increasing oxygen in the injured area. Thoracic laminectomy was performed in 72 female Wistar rats. The MASCIS impactor was used at 12.5 mm (n = 35) and 25 mm (n = 35) of height to perform, respectively, mild and moderate SCI. Muscle strength was assessed through the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan scale (BBB) on days 1, 7, 14, 21, and 28 after SCI. The animals were randomized into five subgroups with seven animals each: (1) control group had SCI without HT; (2) HT 30 minutes after SCI; (3) HT 30 minutes after SCI and daily for 7 days; (4) HT 12 hours after SCI; and (5) HT 12 hours after SCI and daily for 7 days. HT was performed at 2.5 atm for 1 hour.
Decompression sickness among diving fishermen in Mexico: observational retrospective analysis of DCS in three sea cucumber fishing seasons.
The probabilities of decompression sickness (DCS) among diving fishermen are higher than in any other group of divers. Diving behavior of artisanal fishermen has been directed mainly to target high-value species. The aim of this study was to learn about the occurrence of DCS derived from sea cucumber harvesting in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. We conducted a retrospective chart review of diving fishermen treated at a multiplace hyperbaric chamber in Tizimín, Mexico. In total, 233 recompression therapies were rendered to 166 diving fishermen from 2014 to 2016. The average age was 36.7 ± 9.2 years (range: 20-59 years); 84.3% had experienced at least one DCS event previously. There was a correlation between age and DCS incidents (F: 8.3; R2: 0.07) and differences in the fishing depth between seasons (H: 9.99; p⟨0.05). Musculoskeletal pain was the most frequently reported symptom. Three divers, respectively, suffered permanent hearing loss, spinal cord injury and fatal outcome. Diving fishermen experience DCS at an alarmingly high rate, probably due to the type of species targeted, given the requirements in each case. Understanding divers’ behaviors and their incentives while in pursuit of high-value species such as sea cucumber could help to find ways to mitigate health risks and help enforce regulation.
Relationship between clinical and radiologic findings of spinal cord injury in decompression sickness.
Decompression sickness may involve the central nervous system. The most common site is spinal cord. This study was conducted to determine the relationship between magnetic resonance(MR) imaging findings of spinal damage. We conducted a retrospective review of 12 patients (male=10, female=2) who presented with spinal cord symptoms. We investigated their clinical features, neurological findings and radiologic findings. The depth and bottom time of the dive were 34.5 meters (range 22-56) and 22.7 minutes (range 10-55) respectively. Most divers ascended within appropriate time frame as shown by the decompression tables. The most frequent initial symptoms were lower limb weakness (n=12), followed by sensory disturbances (n=10) and bladder dysfuction (n=5). The chief radiologic abnormalities were continuous (n=3), or non-continuous (n=5) high-signal intensity on T2-weighted images at posterior paramedian portion of the spinal cord, mainly thoracic level. There were no abnormal findings in the remaining four (4) patients, and they showed good prognosis. All patients were treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy and some received high-dose dexamethasone. On discharge, five (5) patients had made a full recovery, seven (7) had some residual neurological sequelae, and all patients except one (1) regained normal bladder function. Spinal cord decompression sickness is a neurological emergency. Early recognition and treatment may minimize neurological damage. Initial normal finding in MR imaging was a good predictor for prognosis in spinal decompression sickness.
- “Home Page – NSCISC Application.” Accessed June 19, 2019. https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/.
- “Spinal Cord Injury Information: Levels, Causes, Recovery.” Accessed June 19, 2019. https://www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/spinal-cord-injury/about#FAQ3.
- Oyinbo, Charles Aidemise. “Secondary Injury Mechanisms in Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Nugget of This Multiply Cascade.” Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis 71, no. 2 (2011): 281–99. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8131/2216495186e1d35f6958c59587714efca557.pdf
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- Emery, E., P. Aldana, M. B. Bunge, W. Puckett, A. Srinivasan, R. W. Keane, J. Bethea, and A. D. Levi. “Apoptosis after Traumatic Human Spinal Cord Injury.” Journal of Neurosurgery 89, no. 6 (December 1998): 911–20. https://doi.org/10.3171/jns.1998.89.6.0911.
- Ying, Xinwang, Wenzhan Tu, Sisi Li, Qiaoyun Wu, Xiaolong Chen, Ye Zhou, Jie Hu, Guanhu Yang, and Songhe Jiang. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Reduces Apoptosis and Dendritic/Synaptic Degeneration via the BDNF/TrkB Signaling Pathways in SCI Rats.” Life Sciences 229 (July 15, 2019): 187–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2019.05.029