What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, is a revolutionary medical treatment method in which patients breathe 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. According to Yahoo Finance, HBOT has experienced rapid market growth in recent years and is expected to catapult through 2032 because of its effectiveness and increased awareness and acceptance.

HBOT is now a dominant player in the wound and illness care game. Through this gentle and non-invasive process, an increase in oxygen is delivered to the body’s tissues, aiding in the recovery of injuries or conditions where tissues are regularly deprived of oxygen.

How Does HBOT Relate to COVID-19?

Though the initial wave of COVID-19 has passed, there are many individuals still dealing with the aftereffects of the virus known as “long COVID.” This condition is characterized by persistent symptoms long after the initial infection. Persisting issues can include shortness of breath, fatigue, and even heart issues. HBOT has emerged as a potential therapeutic intervention for these long-term effects, particularly for cardiac dysfunctions.

What Does the Latest Research Say About HBOT and Long COVID?

Recent studies, such as the one presented at the EACVI 2023 Congress, have shown promising results. A trial indicated that HBOT can significantly improve the heart’s ability to contract, specifically in patients experiencing long COVID. Because the HBOT method is a non-surgical option and doesn’t require medicines or needles, and is pain-free, many patients are finding hope in HBOT’s efficacy.

Can You Explain the Trial’s Methodology?

The above trial was a randomized, controlled, double-blind study involving 60 participants who had ongoing symptoms of long COVID. Impacted individuals were divided into two groups: one received HBOT, and the other underwent a sham (placebo) procedure. Both groups underwent 40 sessions, with assessments of their cardiac function before and after the treatment. The only difference was their method of treatment.

What Were the Key Findings of This Study?

Remarkably, nearly half of the participants had reduced heart function at the start. However, those who received HBOT showed a significant improvement in their heart’s ability to contract and relax, as measured by the Global Longitudinal Strain (GLS). The participants in the sham group did not see these kinds of results.

Why is GLS an Important Measure in This Context?

GLS is the standard method and measures the heart’s longitudinal contraction and relaxation. A healthy heart typically shows a GLS of around -20%. In the study group, many participants had a concerningly decreased GLS, indicating impaired heart function. Post-HBOT, there was a notable improvement in GLS values, highlighting the effectiveness of HBOT as a long COVID treatment option.

What Does This Mean for Long COVID Patients?

The findings of this research strongly suggest that HBOT could be a valuable treatment option for long COVID patients, especially those with reduced heart function. Meanwhile, it also highlights the need for more sensitive measures like GLS in gauging cardiac health in suffering patients.

Are There Any Limitations to This Study?

The short answer is: Yes. While this study has promising findings, it was a relatively small participant group, and more extensive research is needed to support these findings further. Additionally, it’s important to identify which patient groups could benefit the most from HBOT as a long COVID treatment regimen.

What Should Patients With Long COVID Consider?

Patients experiencing long COVID symptoms, particularly those experiencing cardiac-related issues, should consult their healthcare providers. All treatment options should be explored, and in-depth discussions about the potential benefits of HBOT, especially if standard cardiac function tests do not reveal any issues, could be crucial.

What’s the Takeaway Message?

HBOT shows a strong promise in improving heart function in long COVID patients. While more research is certainly needed, preliminary findings strongly suggest this therapy could offer a new avenue for recovery and better quality of life for those affected by the long-term impacts of COVID-19.

What Are the Next Steps in This Research?

Further studies are needed to collect additional long-term data and determine the optimal number of HBOT sessions for maximum therapeutic benefit. As we learn more, HBOT could become a standard part of treatment protocols for long COVID, particularly for those with cardiac complications.

Where Could I Find an HBOT Facility? 

Living with and suffering from long COVID symptoms, particularly those related to the heart, is something HBOT can minimize and positively impact. Let us help you find relief from your condition. If you are located in the New York area and are in need of HBOT treatments to combat your long COVID symptoms, Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic is knowledgeable, passionate, and eager to serve you. Located at 1659 Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11236, we are easily accessible to clients all over the region. Contact us by phone today at (718) 255-9955 with any questions or to get started on your journey towards healing.