Recently, two articles ,[,2] published in China featured the application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in patients with novel coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pneumonia. The first was a case report of a severely ill patient who was failing standard respiratory support (not intubated) and whose disease course was reversed with eight hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOTs) at 200 kPa/95 minutes total treatment time. The second was a more severely afflicted patient on a ventilator with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) whose life was saved by the application of five HBOTs. By direct voice and electronic communication with the authors/treating physicians this author has reviewed the data and treatment of four additional severely ill COVID-19 patients with bilateral ground glass opacities who were failing standard mask oxygen therapy, were treated with 3-5 HBOTs and discharged from the hospital to home. The authors reported that they have safely treated an additional 29 less severe patients with the same outcome. The five non-intubated patients had been on oxygen support for days to weeks with immediate pre-HBOT oxygen saturation levels as low as 70% on mask oxygen. With each once daily administration of HBOT the patients experienced sustained elevation of oxygen saturation and improvement in symptoms that persisted to the following morning [Figure 1]. With just 3-8 HBOTs the patients were bridged through the hypoxemic crisis phase of the infection and successfully discharged from the hospital. The authors suggested that HBOT applied earlier in the disease process would prevent the deterioration that leads to the significant morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 infection.
Harch PG. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) respiratory failure. Med Gas Res [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2020 Apr 17]. Available from: http://www.medgasres.com/preprintarticle.asp?id=282177