Many Oklahomans suffer from debilitating conditions resulting from head trauma. Brain injuries may result from active duty military service, sports activities, automobile accidents, and from a host of other traumatic events. State Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon), chair of the House and Senate Veterans Caucus held an interim study Oct. 22, which focused on one very effective treatment modality. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is successfully reducing veterans’ severe and moderate symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). This treatment modality also is proving to be very effective in the management of many mental illnesses. HBOT can be used to help break the dependency of addictive medications currently used in the treatment of depression and other similar conditions. In light of Oklahoma’s opioid crisis, HBOT is a great form of therapy that will aid medical providers reduce their patients’ dependency on this class of drugs.

According to the OK Oasis Hyperbaric Center in Edmond OK, “HBOT is a medical treatment in which a patient breathes a 100% oxygen dosage while the pressure of the treatment chamber is slowly increased above atmospheric pressure. Increased oxygen accelerates the healing process and is used in the treatment of a variety of other medical conditions such as stroke. HBOT is approved by the American Medical Association and the Federal Drug Administration for certain medical conditions. “It heals the brain!

Part of the focus of Rep. Jay Steagall’s interim study was HBOT application for the management of PTSD and TBI resulting from combat is a real success story. During this valuable presentation we heard testimonies from civilian doctors attesting to the high rate of recovery for teenage patients who suffered sport TBI, and we heard from an adult patient who overcame anger and behavioral problems. This gentleman concluded his portion of the interim study by saying HBOT helped to restore his relationship with his wife and children. He indicated his initial brain injuries occurred while playing 8th grade football. He continued by saying his symptoms lasted well into his adult years. A father told the story of his son who was in a horrific automobile accident. This teenager was not expected to make any significant gains to return to a normal life.

He received excellent medical care which included HBOT as a vital part of his medical care, and this young man stood with his father to help share his story.

Multiple graphics were used to demonstrate the positive impact HBOT has on the injured brain. Research clearly shows HBOT starts healing the brain after 1 hour (1.5ATA). There is a phenomenal amount of healing of an injured brain after 40 hours HBOT (1.5ATA). During the time I provided direct patient care, I prescribed HBOT for cancer patients who developed Osteoradionecrosis (bone death caused by ionized radiation) and for patients who developed bone necrosis which resulted from the combination of long-term use of bisphosphonate medications and post-surgical trauma. 

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