The Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Functional Impairments Caused by Ischemic Stroke
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of HBOT as a therapeutic intervention for stroke patients. A stroke may result in a variety of functional deficits including physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments. Using a within-subject design, we measured the impact of HBOT across a number of functional domains including speech, language, cognition, physical function, emotional / behavior impairments, and quality of life. In this preliminary study, our approach was to identify the effects that were strong enough to emerge with a very small sample and, then, to examine the nature of those effects.
We found a beneficial effect of HBOT on memory, processing speed, gait velocity, upper extremity mobility, sleep, and overall recovery. We also observed significant transient changes in neural and inflammatory biomarkers in response to HBOT that may result in the sustained functional changes that were observed. Despite these encouraging results further research is needed to more clearly define the mechanism and potential role of HBOT following a stroke.