Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract, usually involving the ileum, that can lead to debilitating symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and malabsorption during acute exacerbations. Because there is no known cause of the illness, treatment is based upon symptomatology and may ultimately require bowel resection if response to medical therapy is inadequate. Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen has shown promise in the reduction of inflammation associated with acute exacerbations of Crohn’s disease, with alleviation of symptoms and an improvement in quality of life. We present two cases of pediatric patients with exacerbations of Crohn’s disease who underwent cycles of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Each patient was symptomatic and had no improvement despite prolonged medical therapy. Following treatment with hyperbaric oxygen, both patients showed resolution of the inflammatory lesions and improvement in conditions, allowing them to reduce drug therapy. Although the mechanisms by which hyperbaric oxygen reduce inflammation in Crohn’s disease is poorly defined, this therapy seems to have offer a safe adjunct in the treatment of refractory exacerbations.
Green, Purohi, Sadacharam, Mychaskiw (2013). Efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen in patients with Crohn’s disease: two case reports. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;40(2):201-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23682550