FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy is effective for patients with severe hypoxemia associated with COVID-19, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Mariana Cannellotto, M.D., from the Argentine Association of Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Buenos Aires, and colleagues conducted a multicenter trial in Buenos Aires between July and November 2020 involving patients with COVID-19 and severe hypoxemia (oxygen saturation ≤90 percent despite oxygen supplementation). Forty participants were randomly assigned to receive either HBO2 treatment or standard treatment for respiratory symptoms for seven days (20 in each group). HBO2 treatment was planned for five or more 90-minute sessions (one per day) at 1.45 atmosphere absolute. After the interim analysis, the trial was stopped.

Patients in the treatment group received 6.2 ± 1.2 HBO2 sessions on average. The researchers found that in the treatment group versus the control group, the time to correct hypoxemia was shorter (median, three versus nine days). The odds ratio for recovery from hypoxemia at day 3 was 23.2 in the HBO2 group versus the control group. No significant effect on development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, need for mechanical ventilation, or death within 30 days after admission was seen with treatment.

“As we all look to improve our global capabilities to combat the effects of COVID-19, this study demonstrates the value of looking to make the most of available resources to properly evaluate novel treatment modalities such as a lower cost, portable, lower pressure HBO2 to make a clinical impact on this pandemic,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Biobarica Hyperbaric Medical Centers Net.

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