HBOT for Strokes
The basic definition of a stroke is a lack of blood to any part of the brain. Brain damage occurs when the brain cells begin to die because of the lack of oxygen due to the interruption of blood flow. There are many types of strokes depending on how the blood is prevented from reaching the brain; however, there are two main categories: Ischemic and Hemorrhagic. An Ischemic stroke basically occurs when a blood clot prevents blood from reaching the brain. When one suffers from a Hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel has actually burst in the body causing damage.
HBOT Chamber for Alternative Stroke Management
A Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber (HBOT) dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma which is why it is especially useful in regards to the management of stroke. At the periphery of a stroke region there is a critical area called the penumbra, and studies have shown that HBOT has its greatest effect on this region of the brain, meaning that HBOT may limit the damage of a stroke especially when administered within the first few weeks.
Management and healing depends widely on the area and severity of the stroke. The best prevention of permanent damage caused by a stroke is the speed of management. The earlier HBOT is used for management the quicker a patient’s recovery can be, due to the awakening of idling neurons on the periphery of the stroke region. Pairing a fast application of HBOT with physical therapy increases the degree of recovery, shortens the time needed in physical therapy, and decreases the neurological deficiencies that the stroke victim has to endure.
Additionally, when HBOT is administered within weeks, cells on the margins of the damaged area (ischemic freeze) can actually be brought back to function when the DNA is stimulated, creating new protein synthesis. These neurons are called idling neurons. Increased blood flow after HBOT is actually documented with SPECT imaging to show how it is working.
HBOT managements need to continue for approximately 4-6 weeks as long as some improvement continues. These idling neurons have been documented to exist for at least 14 years so continual improvement is possible. However, HBOT is most successful in stroke patients as an added management to already existing rehabilitation therapies. Great improvements have also been documented in those cases that show small strokes in the deep white matter of the brain.
Stroke victims who receive delayed hyperbaric oxygen therapy gain an extended window of opportunity for effective therapeutic treatment. HBOT promotes neurogenesis, a naturally occurring repair process spurred by your body following a brain injury. Through increased neuroprotection, HBOT recipients have experienced stroke volumes reduced by as much as 50 percent due in part to a significant upregulation of angiopoieten-2, which promotes vascular endothelial growth in the brain.
These means of naturally healing and strengthening the brain are ideal for elderly patients who can no longer handle the risk of surgery containing prolonged anesthesia times.
- George Allibone M.D.