Significance: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an important advanced therapy in the treatment of problem wounds, including diabetic foot ulcers and late effect radiation injury. HBOT remains among the safest therapies used today. Nonetheless, there are side effects associated with HBOT. It is important for providers to be able to identify, understand, and quantify these side effects for prevention, management, and informed consent. Recent Advances: The past two decades have seen significant advancements in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of HBOT. This has led to a better understanding of the underlying reason for clinical benefit. It has also led to a better understanding of its side effects. Moreover, more recent literature allows for better quantification of these side effects. This review will highlight these side effects. Critical Issues: Wound healing in the case of problem nonhealing wounds requires the use of various advanced treatment modalities, including HBOT. HBOT has been shown to significantly improve healing rates in certain problem wounds, including advanced diabetic foot ulcers and late effect radiation injury. It is provided in a variety of clinical settings by providers with varying levels of expertise. It is important for those providing this therapy to understand the potential side effects. Future Directions: Research in HBOT has led to significant advancements in the area of wound healing. At the same time, there remains a variety of treatment protocols used at different institutions. It is important to quantify risk and benefit at different treatment pressures and times to better standardize treatment and improve patient care.
Heyboer M 3rd, Sharma D, Santiago W, McCulloch N. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Side Effects Defined and Quantified. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2017 Jun 1;6(6):210-224. doi: 10.1089/wound.2016.0718. PMID: 28616361; PMCID: PMC5467109.