Understanding TRaumatic Brain Injuries 

Traumatic brain injury’s (TBI) are a major cause of disability and dysfunction in our society today. Every year close to 2 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic impacts to the skull caused by from sports injuries, car accidents or other blows to the head not only cause surface damage to the skull itself but also cause inflammation and swelling within the skull cavity. The brain is like any other body tissue when it gets injured: it fills with fluid and swells. Because of the hard skull around it, however, the brain has nowhere to expand as it swells. This swelling increases the pressure inside the head (intracranial pressure), which can cause further injury to the brain. Decreasing and controlling intracranial pressure is a major focus of medical treatment directly following a TBI. If intracranial pressure remains high, it can prevent blood passage to tissue, which results in further brain injury. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) enhances the bodies existing inflammation regulation mechanisms in order to relieve inflammation in the skull. 

HOW HBOT WORKS 

High Oxygen Hyperbaric Therapy works off of the principle of Henry’s law. In chemistry, Henry’s law is a gas law that states that the amount of dissolved gas in a liquid is proportional to its partial pressure in the gas phase. HBOT puts Henry’s law into action inside the human body. The patient first enters the hyperbaric chamber and is brought down to a pressure of 3 atmospheres absolute (3ATA), approximately 3x normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. After increasing the pressure inside the chamber the patient then dawns a plastic hood into which 100% oxygen is pumped. The patient remains at pressure breathing pure oxygen for 60-90minutes. 

It has long been known that healing many areas of the body cannot take place without appropriate oxygen levels in the tissue.  Most illnesses and injuries occur and often linger, at the cellular or tissue level.  In many cases, such as circulatory problems; non-healing wounds; and strokes, adequate oxygen cannot reach the damaged area and the body’s natural healing ability is unable to function properly.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides this extra oxygen naturally and with minimal side effects.

References: 

Boussi-Gross, Rahav, et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial.” PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 11, 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079995.

Hu Q, Manaenko A, Xu T, Guo ZN, Tang JP, Zhang JH (2016) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for traumatic
brain injury: bench-to-bedside. Med Gas Res 6(2):102-110.

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