With the world waiting with bated breath for the COVID-19 vaccine, alternate therapies like HBOT(Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) are being considered widely.
Reportedly, a good number of cases have shown positive results, particularly for patients with low oxygen saturation, accompanied with tachypnoea.
HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 treatment is increasingly being introduced to mitigate the need for mechanical ventilation.
As such, patients undergoing hyperbaric treatment for no less than ninety minutes have shown considerable improvement.
Notably, HBOT has had varying effects from case to case and would require larger and more extensive studies to come to a valid conclusion.
Nevertheless, the role of HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 cannot possibly be undermined and should be considered as an effective treatment option.
This post attempts to discuss the findings and possibilities of the treatment in treating COVID cases for the greater good.
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A Cue from The Past
The ongoing pandemic set forth by the deadly coronavirus bears an uncanny resemblance to the Spanish Flu that wreaked havoc back in 1918.
With not-so-advanced medical facilities, hyperbaric oxygen therapy made it possible to save a good number of lives.
In the US alone, the major cause of death for people affected by the Spanish flu was respiratory failure and hypoxemia.
Dr. Cunningham was seemingly the first physician to have reported using HBOT to save an individual on the verge of death.
The patient was subjected to no less than an hour of hyperbaric therapy, at 1.68 ATMs of compressed air. After subjecting him to regular sessions of HBOT for over three days, the doctors saw marked improvement in his condition. Many other cases were treated successfully following the same mode of treatment.
Now, while there exist stringent differences between the Spanish Flu and COVID, it is the lungs that serve as the organ for primary pathological analysis.
HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 had depicted the ability to act upon the inflamed pulmonary secretions, further accounting for sufficient oxygen in the blood.
Thus, HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 stands a chance to alter the fate of several suffering patients, or for that matter act as a mode of supportive treatment option.
Multiple Cases Drawing Positive Pieces Of Evidence
A retrospective analysis concerning more than a hundred patient CT scans depicted the diffusion barrier, markedly similar to what was experienced during the Spanish Flu.
In another case, an African woman well over forty years of age was admitted to the hospital following recurring symptoms of shortness of breath, close to 50 breaths per minute. The pulmonologists treated her for a string of co-morbidities that included obesity, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Also, her D-dimer reportedly shot to alarming levels.
She was subjected to HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 for a session not less than 90 minutes and at 2.0 ATA, over five days. In due time, she could breathe much better, showed stabilized oxygen saturation levels, and cured her tachypnoea.
During mid-April 2020, four other patients reporting similar conditions were treated with HBOT, ousting the need for a mechanical ventilator. The total number of HBOT sessions required for patients averaged around six and sometimes even around four or five, depending on the seriousness of the condition.
Despite lab values showing an increasing trend towards marked improvement post HBOT therapy for COVID-19, there seems to be a considerable lack of evidence to help draw a positive conclusion.
Nevertheless, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been battling such cases with a decent success rate whatsoever.
Staying Informed will Always Work in Your Favor
There is no denying the fact that HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 has been implemented in the very same manner as witnessed earlier during the Spanish Flu of 1918.
In Wuhan alone, the source point of coronavirus saw several patients infected with COVID-19 who managed to recover with daily sessions of HBOT, compared to other treatment options.
Nevertheless, such findings establishing the efficacy of HBOT therapy for COVID 19 can often counterfire, if one is not careful. Since HBOT sessions can be only facilitated within a hyperbaric glass chamber, it runs the chance of infection transmission. Thus, when administering HBOT therapy for COVID-19, it is important to adhere to optimum sanitization and implement other infection control measures.
Also, the medical professionals administering HBOT should be well trained and experienced in delivering pressure controlled treatments.
For patients receiving the treatment, it is important to be aware of unscrupulous clinics disguising HBOT Therapy for COVID-19 in portable chambers at the hands of unqualified professionals. Such malpractices not only enhance chances of infection but bring a bad reputation to the actual form of treatment.
As more number of patients adopt a gullible approach towards any healthcare advice, such malpractices will continue to thrive. If let loose, they will not only rob blind the patients but also beget a racket to dupe people and overshadow the potential of a great alternate form of treatment.
Hence, it is always advised to gain more knowledge about the disease and HBOT therapy in general.
HBOT, with its limited availability across chosen clinics and hospitals, can be quite a pricey option. However, it has shown significant results in altering life-threatening conditions in the face of a deadly virus like COVID-19, and cannot be summarily rejected.