Supplemental oxygen has been reported to cause pulmonary complications after bleomycin. We describe the safe administration of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) after bleomycin in 15 patients. Paper and electronic records were reviewed for bleomycin-exposed patients at the Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology from 1979 to 2010. Fourteen bleomycin-exposed patients received HBO2 at Duke under a special-precautions protocol. One was treated for DCS elsewhere. The protocol included: pretreatment evaluation; chest radiograph; spirometry; blood gases; a single, 2-atmospheres absolute (atm abs), 120-minute HBO2 treatment; and a gradual acceleration over one week to a twice-daily schedule contingent on clinical and laboratory findings. Bleomycin indications were: head-and-neck squamous cell carcinomas (11), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2), other carcinomas (2). HBO2 indications were: osteoradionecrosis (10), soft-tissue radionecrosis (3), DCS (1) and a provocative oxygen toxicity test for a military aviator (1). Total bleomycin doses ranged from 40 to 225u/m2 (mean +/- SD, 105 +/- 57) given in conjunction with other chemotherapies and/or radiation. Radiation was 63.3 +/- 31.72 Gy (mean +/- SD), none to the chest with the exception of one patient treated for DCS elsewhere. Other chemotherapies included: vinblastine (11), methotrexate (11), CCNU (6) cisplatinum (7), dacarbazin (2), Adriamycin (1), and vincristine (1). Median age at time of HBO2 was 52 years (range 22-77). Median bleomycin-to-HBO2 latency was 34 months (range 1-279). Three patients received HBO2 within six months, and seven patients received HBO2 within two years of their last bleomycin exposure. There were no adverse pre-to-post HBO2 changes in: arterial blood gases, spirometry, chest radiograph findings or clinical reports. There were no persistent post-HBO2 pulmonary complications on follow-up. Post-HBO2 data were available for 40%, 53%, 87% and 100% of these parameters respectively. Bleomycin and oxygen can individually cause acute pulmonary toxicity. However, evidence for increased long-term susceptibility based on their synergy may be overstated.

Torp, Carraway, Ott, Stolp, Moon, Piantadosi, Freiberger, , (). Safe administration of hyperbaric oxygen after bleomycin: a case series of 15 patients. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;39(5):873-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23045915