It’s known for helping athletes heal faster, but could it also help stroke victims?
Doctors at Vancouver General Hospital think it’s possible, and are recruiting stroke survivors to determine if increasing the amount of oxygen in the body improves their conditions.
Lead investigator Dr. David Harrison says high levels of oxygen in the blood could have a beneficial effect.
“The theory is that hyperbaric oxygen, while it’s being delivered, provides enough oxygen to those tissues so they can begin to repair themselves.”
Harrison says they’ll be testing patients in a variety of areas from brain function, to daily living activities, to depression.
The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority says the first such study in North America will involve patients lying in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 40 treatments, each lasting about two hours.
Harrison says it could lead to a sea change in treatment if it works.
“We would then see if we could have this indication approved so that people within could be treated with hyperbaric oxygen after stroke because right now it is not an approved indication recognized by Health Canada and not approved by MSP or the College of Physicians.”
His team is seeking 140 patients between the ages of 19 and 85 who have had a stroke involving the cerebral hemispheres during the past six to 36 months.