Clinical Trial – Hyperbaric Oxygenation in Athletes: Standard Versus Low Pressure

Currently, Hyperbaric Oxigen (HBO) is a widely used treatment for several conditions. There
are 14 indications for HBO, officially recognized by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical
Society (UHMS), but research is discovering other interesting applications.

HBO plays an important role in enhancing antioxidant defense mechanisms by increasing radical
oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide species (NOS). This controlled oxidative stress has
been shown to stop the vicious circle of inflammation – damage – hypoxia already seen in
several diseases. Increased neoangiogenesis has been demonstrated at pressures of 2
atmospheres absolute (ATA), while effects helping ischemic tissues need pressures between 2.5
and 2.8 ATA to develop.

During sports activities, metabolism generates waste products – mostly CO2, lactic acid, but
also ROS. HBO could be useful in modulating antioxidant mechanisms and helping cells in the
recovery after training and sportive competitions.

The authors hypothesize that:

1. HBO can reduce oxidative stress in healthy professional athletes

2. HBO can ameliorate the lactic acid clearance after a maximal exercise

3. HBO at low pressures (L-HBO at 1.45 ATA) is at least comparable to conventional HBO (at
2.5 ATA) in reducing oxidative stress and ameliorating lactic acid clearance after a
maximal exercise.

The Authors will include healthy athletes. These will be randomly assigned to a control
group, a L-HBO group, or a HBO group. The Authors will assess oxidative stress changes and
lactic acid clearance (testing it after a maximal exercise) before and after 20 L-HBO/HBO
treatments, and after 2 months after the end of treatments.