Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer and colorectal surgery is the treatment of choice in local disease. Anastomotic leakage following colorectal surgery is a major complication with a high incidence and mortality. Adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) may be associated with reduction of anastomotic leakage. A systematic review was conducted regarding HBOT as an adjunctive therapy to colorectal surgery. Systematic review (1900-2017) using PubMed, Cochrane, EMBASE, Web of Science and EMCARE. All original published studies on the effect of HBOT as an adjunctive therapy for colorectal surgery with the creation of an anastomosis were considered. Thirteen small animal trials were included for qualitative synthesis. We found no human trials. Eleven trials used bursting pressure whilst eight used hydroxyproline levels as a marker for collagen synthesis as primary outcome to assess the strength of the anastomosis. A meta-analysis performed for normal and ischaemic anastomoses showed that postoperative HBOT improves bursting pressure and hydroxyproline levels significantly in both normal (p = 0.001 and p = 0.02) and ischaemic anastomoses (p = 0.001 and p = 0.04). Postoperative HBOT has a positive effect on colorectal anastomoses in rats. Further research should focus on a larger systematic animal study.

Brouwer, Engberts, Borger van der Burg, van Dongen, van Hulst, Hoencamp (2018). Meta-analysis on the effect of hyperbaric oxygen as adjunctive therapy in the outcome of anastomotic healing of experimental colorectal resections in rats. Diving and hyperbaric medicine, 2018 Sep;48(3):173-185. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30199890