HBOT FAQs – HBOT Now at All Hospitals

As a doctor, how can I learn more about HOPE Connection?
We encourage doctors in all specialties to learn more about HOPE Connection and HBOT. Our goal is not to influence decision-making but to work with medical professionals in understanding the history and application of HBOT to their practices. We can help with insights on operations, safety, and, of course, answers to questions on proper protocols for many conditions that HBOT has proven successful in combatting. We strive to educate any healthcare professional seeking information and speak with specialists in all areas on a weekly basis. Many individuals, whether caregivers, parents, or specialists, stumble across HBOT in their practice, and we often fill void between what’s ‘understood’ about HBOT and the reality of where HBOT is today. HBOT is being used in every state and in 98% of every hospital network around the country. As individuals make inquiries into HOPE, we learn more about the growing community of professionals adopting HBOT in their daily operations. No doubt, the medical professionals in the oxygenation arena are improving their understanding of HBOT and able to answer client-patient questions in a more informed manner. Through HOPE and this growing community, patients, educated parents, and caregivers are learning about the possibilities of HBOT through third-party studies and literature. We provide a safe, well-managed and regulated environment and encourage doctor participation. This site is an informational site only, but there are many doctors in the Boston and New England area that can offer real-world examples of HBOT success. Just let us know how we can facilitate the conversation.

I am a nurse who works with stroke survivors, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s sufferers and traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors. Is HOPE Connection familiar with the needs of these individuals, and can you help me meet other nurses like me?
The individuals at HOPE include certified home-health aides and EMTs who provided full care to a variety of individuals. There is a lot to learn about HBOT, in general, and we all learn continuously through each other. Together, with the staff at HOPE, we have over 100 years’ experience as caregivers and parents. This is why we started HOPE. HBOT cannot help all stroke patients, but it does offer some patients and their families new hope. HBOT can revive brain cells surrounding the stroke-affected area, as is often seen with a SPECT scan (a type of brain image, similar to an X-ray). Whether or not a patient can recover from a stroke depends upon several factors, one of which is the extent and size of the damaged area (similar to an atom bomb blast, there is an area that is not so heavily damaged and the central core). The farther a section of the brain is from the central core, the less likely it is to be impaired. Between the damaged tissue and the unaffected, normal brain is another zone referred to as the penumbra. This important area is another factor in determining how much of a recovery the patient can make. That is because the penumbra contains so-called “dormant,” or “idling,” neurons, brain cells that are nonfunctional but intact. If these cells can be awakened, the patient has a good chance of recovering at least some function. Get in touch with us, let us know how we can help, and join the community, so you can learn more about HBOT and the people who are using it now.

Why aren’t more doctors prescribing HBOT, if accepted by so many hospitals?Basically, most doctors are not yet familiar with hyperbarics. Also, the use of HBOT involves the expense of installing hyperbaric chambers and hiring the technical staff to run them. Another reason is that HBOT is not year a fully established subject in medical schools. In the US, only forty-six medical schools teach hyperbaric medicine or have hyperbaric chambers. Currently, hyperbaric chambers are being installed in a small number of ambulances throughout the US. Thus, medical students often do not learn about hyperbarics, even though first responders and emergency medicine technicians are adopting hyperbarics at a quick pace. Practicing doctors don’t learn about HBOT because much of their continuing education comes from the pharmaceutical industry, which naturally has no interest in informing doctors about a product it does not sell. Furthermore, it is characteristic of the medical establishment, as with any establishment, to be disposed toward preserving the existing order. If a doctor should become interested in HBOT, he or she must spend a considerable amount of time and effort to search the medical literature for information about this subject. At HOPE, we’re trying to make it easier for interested practitioners to learn more about HBOT.

How do we know if HBOT is working?
A number of imaging systems exist (like SPECT and PET scans) that doctors use to monitor the progress of HBOT. SPECT is particularly useful in following the progress of patients treated with HBOT. Like other body-imaging systems, SPECT causes minimal discomfort for the patient, and, with the use of a tracer, shows the viewer where the active neurons are. Before-and-after scans, in certain instances, show a large region of potentially recoverable brain tissue. Practicing neurologists are slowly coming to agree with the idea of identifying stroke-affected brain tissue that might be recoverable. It is accepted medical practice that every measure should be taken to help awaken the dormant neurons with the damaged tissue and thus restore each patient to as much of that individual’s pre-stroke capacity as possible. The use of HBOT as part of a comprehensive treatment plan is the simplest and most effective way of doing just that.

Is HBOT effective for head injury and concussions?
In some cases, depending on the size and location of the initial damage, as well as the reversibility of the damage within the penumbra, the damage can be reversed by HBOT. Head injury isn’t the only cause of brain damage. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer brain damage as the result of near-hanging, near-drowning, near-choking, concussions from sports, cardiac arrest, cyanide and carbon monoxide poisonings, and lightning strikes. This type of brain damage is known as anoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Simply put, HBOT can help get oxygen to the injured brain. For spinal cord injury patients, HBOT aids by reviving nerve cells in the spinal cord in the same way it can help stimulate nerve cells in the brain.
Similarly, HBOT can assist in the alleviation of migraine headaches, and in the treatment of various eye and ear problems. HBOT can increase oxygen levels, because the increased pressure forces oxygen into the blood plasma, the liquid part of the blood that normally does not carry oxygen, and into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain. The plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can then reach areas that the red blood cells, which normally carry oxygen, cannot penetrate. With HBOT, oxygen in the capillaries is pushed further into the adjacent tissues than when oxygen is administered at standard pressure. HBOT can also stabilize and repair the blood-brain barrier, the protective layer of cells that keeps many toxins or noxious materials from reaching the brain; this barrier is often greatly disturbed when a head injury occurs. As a result of the extra oxygen that HBOT provides, the dormant brain cells in the penumbra are awakened and begin to function again. Giving patient pure oxygen at normal pressure simply cannot put enough oxygen into either the bloodstream or the CSF to overcome the oxygen deficit. In certain cases, HBOT also allows the patient to recover from brain-damage aftereffects such as paralysis and speech loss.