Other four facilities in the program have a 100% success rate in helping brain wounds for veterans


Veterans in South-Central Texas and Central Florida diagnosed with difficult-to-treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may soon have the option of receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) through an expansion of a CCI-facilitated clinical demonstration to two new sites. A total of four VA Medical Centers will now be offering HBOT to Veterans diagnosed with PTSD who have not found relief from standard treatments such as medication and talk therapy.

This multisite clinical demonstration is facilitated by CCI, which works to expand Veterans’ access to emerging therapies that show strong anecdotal evidence of effectiveness while researchers undertake formal studies to assess their efficacy.

“VHA has had the reputation of being slow to change or try new things. I think that’s an area where we have made tremendous strides, and this is a prime example,” said Dr. Beth Jeffries, Director of the PTSD program at the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System in Muskogee, one of the two original HBOT demonstration sites. HBOT has long been used for decompression sickness. It is not known how HBOT works to alleviate PTSD symptoms, but increased oxygen is thought to support healing in tissues throughout the body. During HBOT, patients receive medical grade oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure in one of two types of hyperbaric chambers that can treat one person at a time or several people at once.

The Texas and Florida facilities are formalizing their referral process and are expected to begin treating patients later this year. The new sites are the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, which is operated in cooperation with the Undersea Oxygen Clinic and Florida Hospital; and South Texas Veterans Health Care Volume 02 Issue 04 | Fall 2018 8 System in San Antonio, in cooperation with Nix Health and the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. They join two HBOT sites already treating Veterans: Eastern Oklahoma VA in cooperation with Tulsa Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Oklahoma State University Medical Center; and VA Northern California Health Care System in cooperation with David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base.

Through these clinical demonstrations Veterans enrolled in VA health care can access HBOT therapy if they have previously tried two traditional evidence-based treatment methods and have not had significant improvement of their PTSD symptoms. [rlb NOTE: the 4 treatments: psychopharmacology; prolonged exposure therapy; cognitive processing therapy; and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMRD).]

So far, six Veterans referred to the Muskogee program are receiving treatment. The Northern California demonstration is accepting referrals. “Veterans have said they want this, and we’re trying. We’re thinking outside of the box and trying new things,” Dr. Jeffries said. [rlb NOTE: 12 patients have now been through the OSU program; all reported significant medical improvement. No other patients have been treated at the other sites. None, in 8 months – 2.5 years]

Above information was cited from a bulletin released by VA/VHA/Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) program

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