A clinical trial demonstrates the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygenation in severe patients with COVID-19

February 23, 2021


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Preliminary results of the clinical trial prove that Hyperbaric Treatment reduces the need for respirators and recovery times in patients infected with COVID-19. The significant improvement occurs after two sessions in a hyperbaric chamber

36 patients with COVID-19 were part of a successful clinical trial carried out in 2020 in Buenos Aires. Preliminary results show that the incorporation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy recovers severe hypoxemia (low oxygen level in blood) caused by the new Coronavirus.

The researchers reported a significant improvement with two sessions and the final saturation in the treatment group was on average greater than 93. That is why the doctors decided to incorporate Hyperbaric Oxygen in the standard treatment of patients with severe pneumonia due to COVID- 19, even outside the protocol.

Unlike respirators, a Hyperbaric Chamber can be used by different patients with due process of disinfection between sessions. The mechanism of action of the Hyperbaric Treatment is non-invasive and differs from the respirator, which only works on respiratory mechanics, but does not increase the availability of diluted oxygen in blood plasma.

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment is indicated for all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who do not have contraindications for therapy and who do not present an imminent requirement for mechanical ventilation based on clinical criteria. The goal is to reverse hypoxemia and avoid the need for ventilation. The Hyperbaric Chamber can prevent the complications of prolonged hypoxia, inflammation, the need for oxygenation, mortality, and therefore the saturation of the health system.

The clinical trial was carried out at the Muñiz, Santojanni, and Central de San Isidro hospitals in Buenos Aires. It is featured on the Clinical Trials portal and was developed with Revitalair® 430 technology Hyperbaric Chambers that were provided by BioBarica. These devices are easy to install and operate, which is why they have been able to be moved within institutions to be located in COVID-19 rooms. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was incorporated in the three hospitals because it is a low-cost treatment for the institutions and can be indicated by any doctor without the need for a specialty in Hyperbaric Medicine.

The main researchers are Doctors Eleonora Cunto (Hospital Muñiz), Guillermo Keller (Hospital Santojanni), and Ramiro Larrea (Hospital Central de San Isidro). In addition, the clinical trial has the endorsement of the Argentine Association of Hyperbaric Medicine and Research (AAMHEI) and the coordination of its president, Dr. Mariana Cannellotto.

What is Hyperbaric Treatment?

Hyperbaric Treatment consists of breathing high concentrations of oxygen into a pressurized chamber. This generates hyperoxia that increases the volume of dissolved oxygen in blood plasma. The greatest diffusion of oxygen reaches all tissues, even those affected and promotes different physiological effects. 

In the current context, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy would be beneficial to avoid saturation of limited resources such as respirators and intensive care beds in hospitals. Reversing hypoxemia in time with an oxygenation method as powerful as the Hyperbaric Chamber would reduce the associated inflammation and mortality from COVID-19.