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Vol. 20, No. 6, 2005
Issue release date: November 2005
Cerebrovasc Dis 2005;20:417–426

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Cerebral Ischemia

Helms A.K. · Whelan H.T. · Torbey M.T.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisc., USA

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Background: Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy of cerebral ischemia has been evaluated in a number of human and animal studies; however, there is presently no consensus on its efficacy. Methods: We present a review of animal and human studies on HBO therapy of cerebral ischemia as well as present potential mechanisms of action of HBO. Results: Animal studies of HBO have shown promise by reducing infarct size and improving neurologic outcome. HBO has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and apoptosis after cerebral ischemia. Early reports in humans also suggested benefit in stroke patients treated with HBO. Recent randomized, controlled human studies, however, have not shown benefit, although all were limited by small sample size. Important differences between animal and human studies suggest HBO might be more effective in stroke within the first few hours and at a pressure of 2–3 ATA. Conclusions: The clinical usefulness of HBO in the treatment of cerebral ischemia is not yet certain. Attention to emerging pathophysiologic data should be taken into consideration in design of any future clinical trials of HBO in acute ischemic stroke.

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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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