Hyperbaric Healing Center


Contact: Sharon Phillips

Phone: 1-954-575-4973

Cell: 1-954-540-1896

Twitter: HBOT 2010

Email: Sharon@hbot2010.net

or visit: www.hbot2010.net


Monday, June 7th, Newport Beach, CA: Physicians and medical practitioners from around the globe will gather at the Irvine Marriott Hotel July 22-25, for “HBOT 2010”, an educational symposium, of world-wide medical significance.

Their focus will be on the healing and life sustaining benefits of oxygen, in the treatment of serious medical conditions. New to this year’s symposium will be the latest information on the treatment of war veterans with blast injuries, as well as cutting edge information on HBOT’s use for people with cancer and diabetes.

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy Treatment, (known as HBOT), originated with the treatment of deep sea divers many years ago. Today it is successfully used to treat a wide range of illnesses, injuries and chronic conditions. “Dozens of scientific papers will be presented by international specialists, who are making medical history using oxygen — in its many forms — for healing and sustaining life. This conference will feature the most focused group of oxygen specialists in the world,” said Dr. Donald L. Jolly-Gabriel, Ph.D., Chairman of the Richard A. Neubauer Research Institute, (RANRI) sponsors of the event. This is the 7th bi-annual symposium, presented by the institute.

Some 30 experts, using oxygen in the successful treatment of such diverse conditions as: traumatic brain injury, autism, cerebral palsy, lyme disease, spinal cord injury, alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetic wounds, multiple sclerosis, near-drowning, coma, anoxic encephalopathy, childhood mitochondrial diseases and more; will meet in Orange County, CA., for the first time. An exposition featuring some of the most advanced HBOT equipment and items in related fields will also be available to those in attendance.

“This forum provides a rare opportunity for the public to join the medical community in learning about break-through modalities in use here and abroad, to treat these serious conditions,” Jolly-Gabriel said. “Parents who are seeking alternative treatments for children with any of these conditions are urged to attend. They will interact doctors using HBOT and learn first-hand from and patients how HBOT has changed their prognosis and enhanced their lives.

“Oxygen is God’s gift to us,” Jolly-Gabriel added. “It is the single most important element necessary to sustain life. Although it is readily available everywhere, we are only now beginning to realize its true medical significance. It is a magnificent step forward in medicine.” The symposium will provide educational interaction with many of the world’s most eminent experts in the field.


Among featured speakers will be professor K. K. Jain, author of, “The Handbook of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy,” (now the “Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine, currently in its fifth edition).” Jain is a retired professor and a highly respected consultant in neurology and hyperbaric medicine. He is also the author of more than 415 publications including 16 books on related topics.

Karen Simmons, CEO and founder of “Autism Today,” will be featured at an Author’s Luncheon Friday, July 23 at noon. Simmons, is the co-author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs,” (co-authored with Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Heather McNamara); and both “The Official Autism 101 Manual,” (an IPPY Gold Medal winner); and the recently released, “Autism Tomorrow, The Complete Guide to helping your Child Thrive in the Real World.”

Dr. Paul Harch, of the University of Louisiana Medical Center, who developed the HBOT protocol being used to restore the lives of American military personnel, following Traumatic Brain Injuries in combat, will be lauded for his work, during the symposium.

In addition, Some of the most recent studies conducted by world renowned brain specialist Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., of Newport Beach, will also be presented.



HBOT 2010 is designed not only for medical professionals, but for or those who are affected by any of the conditions listed above, or involved in related associations, (i.e. the America Cancer Society, The Autism Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, etc.). The HBOT 2010 agenda includes new approaches in oxygen therapy for the treatment and management of these illnesses.

Attendance will be beneficial to medical professionals including: Neurologists, Pediatricians, Neonatologists, Perinatologists, Physical Therapists, Physiatrists, Orthopedic Surgeons and other professionals. It will afford them new insights into this remarkable medical option as well as practical applications for its use in conjunction with their specialties. Non-professionals such as: care-takers in coma recovery cases, stroke recovery or family members assisting people with disabilities, will also find this program beneficial. “We have done everything possible to make attending this conference exciting, convenient and affordable,” Jolly-Gabriel said. HBOT 2010 has negotiated a conference rate at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, of just $109 per night for those who register before June 15.

Register on-line at http://www.hbot2010.net/index.php. Or, visit the web site for additional information on the coming symposium, conference and exposition.

 (Medical writers and bloggers, affiliated recognized media outlets, are invited to cover the event)

Sharon Phillips

HBOT2010 – July 22-25 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California

Tel: 954 540 1896

Fax: 954 827 0723






Issue Number: 

1 January 2010

   Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can be a valuable adjunctive treatment for patients with various types of wounds. These expert panelists discuss their indications for HBOT, their treatment protocol and barriers to the use of HBOT.

   Q: Do you use HBOT for your wound patients and what are the indications?

   A: As Caroline E. Fife, MD, explains, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen to the entire body at atmospheric pressures greater than 1.5 times sea level pressure. She notes one should not confuse this with topical oxygen administered to part of the body or oxygen (or air) via “zip up” chambers at very low atmospheric pressures. The usual treatment pressure for wound-related problems is at least 2.0 atmospheres absolute (ATA) although she notes that sometimes patients receive pressures of 2.4 or 2.5 ATA depending on the situation. At these pressures, one can expect tissue oxygen levels in excess of 600 mmHg.

   Dr. Fife notes hypoxia is a common cause of wound healing failure. Non-healing amputations, ulcers due to vascular insufficiency and diabetic foot wounds all share the problem of tissue hypoxia, which Dr. Fife says is usually due to ischemia from vascular disease.

   She says normalizing tissue PO2 enhances resistance to infection, collagen deposition and angiogenesis. However, Dr. Fife sees a disconnect between the rationale for HBOT and what physicians can treat in terms of current Medicare coverage policy.

    “While third-party payers require us to ‘bucket’ wounds and ulcers into neat diagnostic categories, real patients rarely cooperate by falling into clear disease classification systems,” explains Dr. Fife. “A variety of problem wounds exist and are usually the result of multiple local and systemic factors.”

   Kazu Suzuki, DPM, thinks HBOT is “an invaluable adjunctive therapy in modern wound care clinics.” He notes about 10 to 15 percent of his patients who present at his wound care centers have indications for HBOT and he recommends it routinely when indicated. Dr. Suzuki works with the three HBOT centers near his wound care clinic. Two of the centers have monoplace chambers while the other has a multi-place chamber that fits about 10 people at the same time.

   Dr. Suzuki has discovered that most patients prefer monoplace chambers because of the privacy with more open appointment times. This is in contrast to multi-place chamber clinics, which have a fairly rigid schedule for treatment, according to Dr. Suzuki. If the patient is five minutes late, he or she will miss the treatment. However, he always emphasizes that the efficacy of HBOT would be the same in either size chamber, since “oxygen is oxygen” regardless of which clinic they use.

   Michael DellaCorte, DPM, CHT, uses HBOT as an advanced treatment for patients with diabetes and says he has attained “very positive” results. He combines several treatment options with HBOT. These treatment options include negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), PICC lines, Apligraf (Organogenesis) or Dermagraft (Advanced Biohealing) along with weekly wound care and offloading.

   Q: What are the indications for HBOT? When would you incorporate HBOT into your treatment protocol?

   A: Dr. Suzuki follows the guidelines of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS, www.uhms.org). Both he and Dr. DellaCorte use HBOT for diabetic foot ulcers of Wagner grade III or higher.

   In evaluating all the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on diabetic foot ulcers over the past 10 years, Dr. Fife says only HBOT trials have enrolled patients with Wagner III grade ulcers and/or significant tissue ischemia. She points out that all other RCTs excluded patients with ischemia.1 Accordingly, Dr. Fife says HBOT “stands alone in demonstrating benefit for ischemic diabetic foot ulcers.”

   The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cover HBOT for diabetic foot ulcers based on the RCT data.2 As Dr. Fife maintains, while there is no reason to believe that HBOT would not be equally effective for ischemic ulcers in non-diabetics, HBOT is only “covered” for Wagner III diabetic foot ulcers and not for similar limb-threatening ulcers in patients without diabetes. She also notes that HBOT is covered for acute arterial ischemia.

   Drs. Suzuki and DellaCorte will use HBOT for patients with chronic osteomyelitis. Dr. Suzuki notes the synergy among most antibiotics and HBOT, adding that he uses magnetic resonance imaging to monitor treatment progress.

   Hyperbaric oxygen is also covered for chronic refractory osteomyelitis as it increases the oxygen concentration in bone, and directly kills or inhibits the growth of organisms that prefer low oxygen concentrations, according to Dr. Fife. She notes that HBOT also augments the antibacterial effect of certain antibiotics that have an oxygen dependent transport mechanism across the bacterial cell wall. Dr. Fife says these antibiotics include aminoglycosides, vancomycin, quinolones and certain sulfonamides.3

   Drs. Suzuki and DellaCorte also use HBOT for skin flap failure. When it comes to a transmetatarsal amputation, if the plantar skin flap does not heal properly, Dr. Suzuki immediately sends the patient for HBOT for skin flap salvage. He maintains that HBOT in this situation is far better than doing another proximal amputation. Dr. DellaCorte points out that transmetatarsal amputations that start to necrose do not do well with HBOT. Emphasizing that hyperbaric oxygen is not a substitute for revascularization, Dr. DellaCorte says he will refer the patient for bypass first if appropriate for the given patient.

   Dr. Fife says HBOT can help treat compromised flaps that appear to have post-op ischemia. She adds that HBOT can also help minimize the amount of tissue that does not survive after a plastic surgical “flap” and reduce the need for repeat flap procedures.4

   Dr. Suzuki and his partner, a plastic reconstructive surgeon, use HBOT for many cancer patients who have had radiation. Unless the patient received a very short course of radiation treatment, he says most radiation recipients suffer from radionecrosis of soft tissue (burn wound of skin to internal bleeding) and bone (spontaneous fracturing of jaw bone, etc).

    “This HBOT indication is often overlooked but we have made a lot of people happy by offering this treatment option,” says Dr. Suzuki.

   In regard to protocol, Dr. Suzuki starts with the initial consultation with the hyperbaric doctor on site and then prescribes 20 sessions of HBOT for wound indications such as diabetic foot ulcers. Each session is usually 60 to 90 minutes of 2.0 to 2.8 ATA, although each clinic has its own protocols. He says patients with osteomyelitis and radionecrosis indications usually need 30 sessions or more. It is rare but when it comes to traumatic amputation of toes, Dr. Suzuki would recommend twice daily HBOT treatment for a week after re-attachment of the digit and then may reduce that to once-a-day treatment.

   Although treatment varies according to the patient condition, Dr. DellaCorte says most patients receive 90 minutes of HBOT at a pressure of 2.4 ATA for a total time of about 106 minutes in the chamber, including eight minutes to get to the appropriate pressure and eight minutes to decompress. Six weeks or 30 dives/treatments is his standard protocol. As Dr. DellaCorte notes, CMS requires re-evaluation every 10 dives/treatments. If there is no improvement, he stops treatment but treatment will continue if the wound is improving.

   Dr. Fife uses transcutaneous oximetry to screen patients with non-healing wounds to determine if spontaneous healing is possible. If TcPO2 values are low and do not increase with sea level oxygen breathing, she says patients are likely to have vascular disease. She will perform revascularization when possible and subsequently reassess the TcPO2.5

   If values continue to be low and patients have a diagnosis for which HBOT would be covered, Dr. Fife performs in-chamber TcPO2 studies. As she notes, outcome studies suggest that 84 percent of diabetic foot ulcers with in-chamber values >200 mmHg are likely to respond to HBOT. Dr. Fife says treatment can be at 2.0 ATA or greater as long as in-chamber TcPO2 values are >200 mmHg.6 Dr. Fife says it is not clear whether the same in-chamber values are predictive of success for arterial ulcers or failing flaps. The average number of treatments for a DFU is around 35, says Dr. Fife. She notes that if patients fail to demonstrate benefit after 20 treatments, then HBOT should stop.

   Q: In your experience, what is the main barrier to treatment with HBOT?

   A: Dr. Suzuki notes one contraindication is untreated pneumothorax. However, Dr. Fife adds that one can treat pneumothorax if it is vented. Dr. Suzuki asks patients to refrain from getting the treatment when they have sinus congestion as high pressure may exacerbate the symptoms. If the patient is having a hard time clearing the ears during HBOT, both he and Dr. Fife suggest putting pressure equalization tubes in the patient’s ears.

   Dr. DellaCorte adds that ear barotrauma due to chamber pressure and claustrophobia are other barriers to treatment. Dr. Fife notes another relative contraindication includes pulmonary air trapping (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Patients with COPD are at risk for pulmonary barotrauma and Dr. Fife says one must decide whether it is safe for these patients to undergo HBOT. Patients with uncontrolled seizures are not recommended for HBOT, according to Dr. Fife.

   Dr. Suzuki’s patients sometimes complain of logistical problems since the ideal HBOT occurs Monday through Friday for 20 days, meaning four weeks of commitment. For out-of-town patients (commuting for an hour or longer) or dialysis patients, he recommends treatment three times a week (on non-dialysis days). Outcome data suggest that regular attendance to therapy affects whether patients benefit, according to Dr. Fife.7 She adds that therapy five days per week can be difficult for chronically ill patients.

   Dr. Suzuki refutes the claim that patients on VAC therapy (KCI) cannot be in the chamber. He says as long as the HBOT technicians know how to disconnect and reconnect the suction hose to keep the machine outside of the chamber, patients using VAC therapy can successfully undergo treatment with HBOT.

   Drs. DellaCorte and Fife note the barrier of insurance coverage. Although it is likely that non-diabetic patients with ischemia would benefit, Dr. Fife says in the absence of acute arterial insufficiency, a failing flap or osteomyelitis, patients whose only diagnosis is chronic arterial disease do not meet current coverage guidelines.

    “This is unfortunate since there are no other interventions likely to prevent limb loss if revascularization has failed to sufficiently increase tissue oxygen levels,” explains Dr. Fife.

   Research has shown that HBOT is cost effective in comparison to amputation and increases quality of life years.8,9 Dr. Fife notes the cost benefit of HBOT is enhanced by proper patient selection. Patients are best referred before tissue loss has progressed to the point where amputation is inevitable, says Dr. Fife. She notes that transcutaneous oximetry can be useful in screening out patients who are likely to get well without HBOT or patients who cannot be helped.

   Dr. Fife says one should not use HBOT as an alternative to proper revascularization. She says those on dialysis or those who have a transplant are less likely to benefit from HBOT, but are also less likely to benefit from any other intervention.

   Dr. Fife maintains that HBOT must be under the supervision of a properly trained advanced care practitioner who can manage complications.

    “When hyperbaric treatment is used in conjunction with standard wound care, researchers have demonstrated improved results in the healing of difficult or limb-threatening wounds in comparison to routine wound care alone,” she says.

Dr. DellaCorte is a Certified Hyperbaric Technologist. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine. He is in private practice in Maspeth, N.Y.
Dr. Fife is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She is the Director of Clinical Research at the Memorial Hermann Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Dr. Suzuki is the Medical Director of Tower Wound Care Center at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers. He is also on the medical staff of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and is a Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Japan.


Kazu Suzuki, DPM, CWS


1. Carter MJ, Fife CE, Walker D, Thomson B. Estimating the applicability of wound-care randomized controlled trials to general wound care populations by estimating the percentage of individuals excluded from a typical wound care population in such trials. Adv Skin Wound Care 2009; 22(1):316-24.
2. Faglia E, Favales F, Aldeghi A, et al. Adjunctive systemic hyperbaric oxygen therapy in treatment of severe prevalently ischemic diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes Care 1996;19(12):1338-1343.
3. Mader JT, Shirtliff ME, Calhoun JH. The use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of osteomyelitis. In: Hyperbaric medicine practice. Best Publishing Co., Flagstaff, Arizona, 1999, pp. 603-616.
4. Zamboni WA. Applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in plastic surgery. In: Oriani G, Marroni A, Wattel F, eds. Handbook on hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996.
5. Fife CE, Smart DR, Sheffield PJ, Hopf HW, Hawkins G, Clarke D. Transcutaneous oximetry in clinical practice: consensus statements from an expert panel based on evidence. Undersea Hyperb Med 2009; 36(1):43-53.
6. Fife CE, Buyukcakir C, Otto GH, Sheffield PJ, Warriner RA, Love TL, Mader J. The predictive value of transcutaneous oxygen tension measurement in diabetic lower extremity ulcers treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy; a retrospective analysis of 1144 patients. Wound Rep Regen 2002; 10(4):198-207.
7. Fife CE, Buyukcakir C, Warriner R, Sheffield P, Love T, Otto G. Factors influencing the outcome of lower extremity of diabetic ulcers treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Wound Repair Regen 2007; 15(3):322-331.
8. Cianci P, Petrone G, Drager S, Lueders H, Lee H, Shapiro R. Salvage of the problem wound and potential amputation with wound care and adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy: an economic analysis. J Hyperbaric Med 1988; 3:127-141.
9. Guo S, et al. Cost effectiveness of adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of diabetic ulcers. Int J Technol Assess Health 2003; 19(4):731-737.

I recently received the following paper from Professor Philip James.

“Oxygen Treatment for Children with Autism

Philip B James Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Dundee

Until the 1990s few children were labelled as ‘autistic’ and it is clear that the recent epidemic is not because of better diagnosis, it is because some aspect of the medical management of children at birth or in early childhood has changed.

The blood vessels of the brain are different to those in the rest of the body; they form a barrier because many substances present in blood are toxic. The barrier, known as the blood-brain barrier or ‘BBB’ needs energy to work properly and so is affected by lack of oxygen. Brain damage due to failure of the BBB can occur at any time during life but especially, as MRI has shown, at birth. After an initial insult the barrier may remain damaged as it is, for example, in multiple sclerosis patients.

Medical practice lags well behind the latest research findings about oxygen from biological scientists and oxygen is simply regarded as necessary for the production of energy. However, it has been shown that oxygen levels control genes including those responsible for new blood vessel formation, the control of inflammation and the release of stem cells into the circulation. These processes apply to the repair of all tissues but especially the brain.

Breathing is necessary to gain oxygen for normal function but also for recovery from injury or illness. Unfortunately, injury and disease involve blood vessels and this often restricts the delivery of oxygen just when it is most needed for repair Misunderstandings about the toxicity of oxygen have generally clouded judgement about the use of high levels in treatment. Enormous experience exists in aviation, space and underwater medicine about the safety of using oxygen in treatment.

To significantly increase the level of oxygen carried in the blood needs a pressure chamber and it is well-established, if not well-known, that giving a high level of oxygen for just one hour a day may promote the repair of tissues when all other medical interventions have failed. In other words giving more oxygen extends the envelope of natural recovery.

There is no substitute for oxygen and if giving more does not help a patient it is not because oxygen does not ‘work’ it is because the damage has gone too far to allow normal recovery. However, the key question is how many treatment sessions are needed and this is a difficult problem because the treatment is time consuming.

The original studies of oxygen treatment for multiple sclerosis sufferers used a course of 20 sessions and this number was also used for the controlled studies. Over the last 27 years the UK charity centres have also used an initial course of 20 sessions followed by weekly maintenance sessions because MS is a progressive illness. A course of 20 sessions on a daily basis for five days a week means that a course can be completed in a month. If assessment shows continued improvement the course can be repeated after a suitable interval and most centres report using a gap of four weeks. The evidence supports using oxygen by hood at 1.5 ata or 1.75 ata using a mask. However benefit has been reported at pressures as low as 1.3 ata with 24% oxygen. March 2009”

Department of Defense Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation
The Use of Hyperbaric Medicine in Acute Trauma
Paul G. Harch, M.D.
Clinical Asistant Professor and
Director, Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship,
Louisiana State University School of Medicine
New Orleans, Louisiana

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the use of greater than atmospheric pressure oxygen as a drug to treat basic disease processes and ther diseases(1).  In the simplest terms HBOT is a pharmaceutical or prescription medication similar to the thousands of medications routinely prescribed by physicians everyday throughout the world.    The key differences with HBOT, however, are that it is a drug that treats basic disease processes that are common to every disease, that it acts as a repair drug in these processes, and that it replaces an essential element of life for which there is no substitute, oxygen.  This effectiveness in treating basic common disease processes explains the ability of HBOT to act in a generic beneficial fashion to a multitude of diseases, including and esprecially traumatic injuries to all areas of the body.

HBOT has both acute and chronic drug effects.  HBOT exerts these effects by obeying the Universal Gas Laws, the most important of which is Henry’s Law (2).  Henry’s Law states that the concentration of a gas in solution is proportional to the pressure of that gas interfacing with the solution.  For example, the amount of oxygen dissolved in a glass of water is directly proportional to the amount of oxygen in the air.   Similarly, the amount of oxygen dissolved in our blood is directly proportional to the amount of oxygen we are breathing.  According to Henry’s Law, there is a very small amount of oxygen dissolved in the liquid portion of the blood when breathing air (21% oxygen) at sealevel.  The remainder and majority of oxygen is bound to hemoglobin in the red blood cells giving a 98@ saturation of hemoglobin.    As we increase the amount of oxygen in inspired air by applying a nasal cannula or facemask of pure oxygen the final 2% of hemoglobin is quickly bound by oxygen.  All of the remaining available oxygen interfaces with and is dissolved in the liquid portion of the blood.  Once we reach 1.5 liters/minute of supplemental  oxygen by a tight fitting aviator’s mask or non-rebreather mask we have reached the maximum amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in blood by natural means.  However, this is not the absolute limit.  By placing a patient in an enclosed chamber,  increasing the pressure above ambient pressure, and giving the patient pure oxygen we can cause an increase in dissolved oxygen in blood in direct proportion to the pressure increase.

At the point of three atmospheres absolute of pure oxygen (3 ATA), just slightly more than the amount the U.S. Navy has used for 50 years in the treatment of divers with decompression sickness, we can dissolve enough oxygen in the plasma to render red blood cells useless.  Under these conditions as blood passes through the tiniest blood vessels tissue cells will extract all of the dissolved oxygen in the blood without touching the oxygen bound to hemoglobin.  This amount of dissolved oxygen alone can exceed the amount necessary for the tissue to sustain life.  In other words, you don’t need red blood cells for life at 3 ATA of 100% oxygen.   This physical phenomenon was proven in a famous experiment in 1960 and published in the first edition of the Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery by Dr. Boerema of the Netherlands (3).  Dr. Boerema anesthetized pigs, removed nearly all of their blood, and replaced it with salt water while he compressed them to 3 ATA.  At 3 ATA in a hyperbaric chamber pigs with essentially no blood were completely alive and well.  This phenomenon has been proven effective in other experiments and is the basis for clinical use in extreme blood loss anemia (4).  The best examples are Jehovah’s Witness patients who have lost massive amounts of blood and because of a religous proscription are unable to receive blood transfusions.  These patients are kept alive over weeks with repetitive HBOT until their blood system is able to naturally produce enough blood to sustain life.  This ability to maintain life without blood has obvious potential to battlefield casualties awaiting transfusion.

As a result of Henry’s Law HBOT is able to exert a variety of drug effects on acute pathophysiologic processes.  These have been well documented over the past 50 years and include reduction of hypoxia (5,6), inhibition of reperfusion injury (7), reduction of edema (8), blunting of systemic inflammatory responses (9), and a multitude of others (10).  In addition, repetitive HBOT in wound models acts as a DNA stimulating drug to effect tissue growth (11,12).  HBOT has been shown to interact with the DNA of cells in damaged areas to begin the production of repair hormones, proteins and cell surface receptors that are stimulated by the repair hormones (13,14).  The resultant repair processes include replication of the cells responsible for tissue strength (fibroblasts) (15), new blood vessel growth (16,17), bone healing and strengthening (18), and new skin growth.

To best understand the effectiveness and potential of HBOT one must understand basic disease processes, commonly referred to as pathophysiolocic processes.  Every insult or injury to living organisms, particularly human beings, is distinct and different, and can be characterized by the type of force, energy, or peculiar nature of that insult.  For example, a blast force is different from a blunt force, an electrical injury, a toxic injury, a biological injury, infectious injury, thermal injury, nuclear injury, gunshot wound, stab wound , burn, or even a surgical wound.  Regardless of the exact nature and idiosyncratic character of the injury, however, every acute injury has a common secondary injury called the inflammatory process (20).  This secondary injury in fact causes more damage than the primary injury.  Moreover, it is a universal process common to every human being regardless of race, color, creed, size, gender or genetics.  The beauty of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is its ability to powerfully impact the inflammatory reaction and its component processes like no other drug in the history of medicine.

The inflammatory process begins with tissue injury.  The injury can be as innocuous as apposition of tissues that normally do not interface against one another, such as a spinal bony compression of a nerve root due to a degenerative disk.  Most often, however, tissue injury results from much larger forces such as the type seen in military conflict.  Once tissue is disrupted, proteins, fat, other molecules, and disrupted tissue is exposed to the circulation.  In addition, blood vessels are damaged both directly by mechanical forces and indirectly by tissue fragments that interact with the vessel walls.  The net effect is bleeding from broken blood vessels and dilation of the unbroken blood vessels.  As the vessels dilate, blood pressure forces the liquid portion of the blood out of the vessels.  The extravasated fluid, now referred to as edema, exerts its own pressure that collapses blood vessels, leading to a reduction of blood flow.  This compounds the reduction in blood flow already caused by disrupted blood vessels and bleeding.  In addition, white blood cells in the the circulation are attracted to the damaged tissue by molecules released from the damaged tissue.  The white blood cells traverse the blood vessel walls in a process called emigration (21) and disgorge themselves of their digestive enzymes.  These enzymes cause further tissue damage in an attempt to clean up the primary damage, but also cause constriction of blood vessels to limit further bleeding and leakage of fluid.



Hperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) appears to be a safe and effective treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression.  Thanks to the work of the American Association for Health Freedom,  and their petition to Congress,  it looks as though our veterans will soon be receiving this much-needed treatment.

For each of you who took time to write your representatives regarding this issue – Thank you.  The legislation which was passed and signed into law is a start, but this program needs to be funded and sustained.  Please see the link at the bottom of this piece to ask Congress for its continued support of HBOT for veterans.
* From the E-Newsletter, [American Association for Health Freedom]

AAHF Scores a Victory with HBOT for Wounded Veterans

Hope For Traumatic Brain Injury, Diabetic Failure-to-Heal Wounds and More?

On September 30,  President Bush signed into law the FY2009 Continuing Resolution that contains the Defense Appropriations bill.  In doing so, crucial funding became available to complete a scientific study important to all Americans.

Seventeen years ago, Paul G. Harch, M.D., discovered that hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 1.5 atmospheres of pressure  (HBOT 1.5)  could repair a chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Dr. Harch, director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship at Louisiana State University’s School of Medicine and an AAHF member, has used the therapy on over 700 patients and has taught the technique to hundreds of doctors.

In 2008, Dr. Harch applied HBOT 1.5 to five combat veterans of the current war who have traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from concussive blasts.  So far, all of the veterans treated have significan recovery.  Eighty percent no longer have PTSD and all are improved.

During this same year,  Dr. Harch testified in fron to the Surgeon General of the Navy and the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps.  He told the stories of the five combat veterans he treated with HBOT 1.5; three of those veterans were in the same room.

One of them, a judge who served as a general in the Army Reserves, endured a year of treatment failures at Walter Reed.  He is now back on the bench, fully recovered in 120 days, after 80 HBOT 1.5 treatments.  The Health Freedom Foundation, sponsored a Marine machine gunner who expreienced seven concussive events from roadside bombs during two tours in Iraq.  Now, after HBOT treatments, his migraine headaches have disappeared, his sleep is restored , his PTSD is gone.  He is now actively employed.  He has his life back, as do other veterans who have undergone HBOT treatment.

At Louisianna State University in New Orleans, under an approved study protocol, Dr. Harch is now treating another thirty veterans of the war who have TBI and PTSD.  AAHF sought funding from Congress for this important study for the past two years. This year, after nearly 200 visitis to members of Congress, funding was finally provided.

In April 2008, the RAND Corporation, a non-profit “think tank” highly respected by the government and NGOs, found that of the 1.6 million veterans of the war, 300,000 have PTSD, 320,000 suffer TBI, and 80,000 have depression.  Current treatment costs for each of these conditions, when treated separately, is more than the cost associated with HBOT 1.5.

HBOT 1.5  one-time cost is US $16,000 (80 treatments at $200 per session) and apprears to treat all three symptoms simultaneously;  the earlier a person is treated, the more effective the recovery, and the fewer the treatments needed.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 2.4 atmospheres of pressure is already used 10,000 times a day at over 900 locations for everything from non-healing diabetic wounds and radiation injuries from cancer treatment, to fourteen other Medicare-reimbursable and FDA-approved indications.  HBOT 1.5 is a dose of HBOT tat clinical experience shows is safe and effective for TBI.

According to Dr. Ted Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, “Functional neuroimaging shows HBOT revitalizes brain tissues and restores normal brain metabolism in vastly different areas of the brain in ways that other existing treatments cannot.  To leave these injured neurons in our brave veterans to wither on the vine seems criminal when HBOT 1.5 is available and works.”

Today a multi-state coordinated effort is under way to treat vets at 78 locations.  We expect this AAHF-coordinated effort will result in the necessary scientific proof to establish HBOT 1.5 as the standard of care for acute and chronic neurological injuries, and we hope it will secure reimbursement by the VA, Tri-Care, Medicare and civilian insurance.

The body of scientific evidence indicates that modern medicine has overlooked hyperbaric oxygen as a key tool in the treatment of strokes, diabetic failure-to-heal wounds, and conditions like reflex sympathetic dystrophy.  Timely HBOT therapy could reduce the incidence of stroke (the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with over 500,000 reported cases each year) and amputations due to diabetic failure-to-heal wounds.  HBOT has sound science, many years of clinical practice and a convincing reason for all of us to seek access when it can be of help.

Veterans who wish treatment can can contact Teri Rich at 801-964-2008.

HyperMED NeuroRecovery Australia

I had the opportunity to visit with Teri Rich, the founder of Advanced Wound Care Systems, Inc. located in Taylorsville, Utah located inside the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

Teri Rich and Dr. Sherman Johnson informed me that Advanced Wound Care Systems has been selected as one of approximately 90 installations around the U.S. for providing a Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy program for veterans.   

For more detailed information, you will need to contact Teri Rich directly at 801-964-2008.  Be sure to mention that you found her through the Hyperbaric Discovery blog.


 Here is the beginning of the overview for this program.  It will be completed in subsequent entries:

Department of Defense Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project (DoD-BIRR) Rescue for Blunt Trauma, Crush & Acute Traumatic Brain Injury
Summary of Scientific Backgrounds & Overview
 Oxygen delivered under pressure, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is one of the most powerful drugs known to man.  Simultaneously, HBOT delivers the substrate of life, oxygen, for which there is no substitute.  HBOT has profound beneficial effects on injury pathophysiologic processes that are common in military casualties.  Moreover, it has been shown to positively impact traumatic brain injury, compartment syndrome, burns, hemorrhage, and reperfusion injury.  These injuries and injury processes comprise the bulk of battlefield caualties.  With timely intervention of HBOT the morbidity and mortality of injured soldiers should substantially improve as they have in their civilian counterparts.  Past foreign military experience strongly suggests this benefit in extremity wounds and it is our conviction that United States soldiers deserve nothing less.  This is the goal of the Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project (Dod-BIRR).

HBOT has both acute and chronic drug effects.  HBOT exerts these effects by obeying the Universal Gas Laws, the most important of which is Henry’s Law (2).  Henry’s Law states that the concentration of a gas in solution is proportional to the pressure of that gas interfacing with the solution.

At the point of three atmospheres absolute of pure oxygen (3 ATA), just slightly more than the amount the U.S. Navy has used for 50 years in the treatment of divers with decompression sickness, we can dissolve enough oxygen in the plasma to render red blood cells useless.  Under these conditions as blood passes through the tiniest blood vessels tissue cells will extract all of the dissolved oxygen in the blood without touching the oxygen bound to hemoglobin.  This amount of dissolved oxygen alone can exceed the amount necessary for the tissue to sustain life.  In other words, you don’t need red blood cells for life at 3 ATA of 100% oxygen.  This ability to maintain life without blood has obvious potential to battlefield casualties awaiting transfusion.

As a result of Henry’s Law HBOT is able to exert a variety of drug effects on acute pathyophysiologic processes.  These have been well documented over the past 50 years and include reduction of hypoxia (lack of oxygen), inhibition of reperfusion injury (immune response to injury), reduction of edema (swelling), blunting of systemic inflammatory responses, and a multitude of others.  In addition, repetitive HBOT in wound models acts as a DNA stimulating drug to effect tissue growth.    HBOT has been shown to interact with the DNA of cells in damaged areas to begin the production of repair hormones, proteins, and cell surface receptors that are stimulated by the repair hormones.  The resultant repair processes include replication of the cells responsible for tissure strength (fibroblasts), new blood vessel growth, bone healing and strengthening, and new skin growth.

In the past 12 years scientific research has unequivocally shown that the only drug to completely or nearly completely reverse the reperfusion injury process is hyperbaric oxygen.  This  physiological reaction of the body to trauma is  is a major  source of injury that battlefield casualties experience.  In multiple experiments with different models, different organ systems, different types of blood flow reduction or absence (e.g., heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, carbon monoxide, tourniqueting of an extremity, etc.) timely HBOT within hours of reperfusion injury has been shown to completely or nearly completely reverse reperfusion injury.

Simultaneously, due to HBOT’s ability to dissolve large amounts of oxygen in the liquid portion of the blood, oxygen-enriched plasma is able to reach damaged areas of tissue not accessible by normal blood flow and restore oxdative function to those areas.  The net result is a dramatic reduction in the secondary injury process, improved viability of tissue that would otherwise die.

In addition, twenty percent of the wounded in Iraqi experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) a diffuse cerebral insult characterized by primary mechanical disruption of tissue and secondary injury from ischemia, hypoxia, edema, vasospasm, neurochemicals and reperfusion injury.  A review of the medical literature shows that there is substantial data proving a beneficial effect of HBOT on the secondary injury processes of acute TBI.  HBOT has been shown indirectly to improve ischemia and hypoxia in acute TBI by its effect on aerobic metabolism and EEG.  The neurosurgeon authors of the Rockswold study conclude that  “HBOT should be initiated as soon as possible after acute severe traumatic brain injury.”


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a high-dose oxygen inhalation therapy that is achieved by having the patient breathe 100% oxygen inside a pressurized hyperbaric chamber. The delivery of oxygen to the tissues occurs through respiration because the patient absorbs insufficient oxygen through the skin.

Oxygen is transported by the blood from the lungs into the tissue by two methods: it is bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells, and it is physically dissolved in the plasma. As the chamber is pressurized, the elevated alveolar oxygen tension in the lungs drives oxygen into the plasma, which is then transported throughout the body. Oxygen transport by plasma is the key to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, for even tissue with a poor blood supply can receive oxygen as the hyperoxygenated plasma seeps across it.

While increasing tissue-oxygen levels is a primary therapeutic effect of HBOT, other benefits include reducing edema, modifying growth factors and cytokine effects, stimulating more rapid development of capillary budding and granulation tissue formation within the wound bed, promoting cellular proliferation, accelerating collagen deposition, and increasing microbial oxidative killing.

Damaged tissue can have decreased oxygen levels that reduce the activity of several antibiotics, including aminoglycosides, sulfonamides, and fluoroquinolones. By raising the oxygen in ischemic tissue to normal levels, HBOT may normalize the activity of these antimicrobials. Additionally, HBOT may potentiate the activity of certain antimicrobials by inhibiting biosynthetic reactions in bacteria. HBOT can modulate the immune system response and also enhance oxygen-radical scavengers, thereby decreasing ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Although any therapeutic application of hyperbaric oxygenation is intrinsically associated with the potential for producing mild-to-severe side effects, the appropriate use of hyperoxia is one of the safest therapeutics available to the practitioner.

It is unknown if hyperbaric oxygen therapy will cause congenital defects in horses. In human studies it has not been shown to have adverse effects. In our hyperbaric center, we do not hesitate to treat a mare with HBOT, especially when the benefits outweigh the risks. It is not unusual in our clinic, if treating a foal, to allow the mare in the chamber during treatments to aid in the relaxation of the foal.

Contact: Dr. Nathan Slovis, 859/253-0002; Hagyard Equine Medical Institute; Lexington, Ky.

Next Page »