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The Heart & Hyperbaric Oxygen

  • Oxidative modification of low-density lipoproteins, induced by free radicals, has been clinically implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. This oxidative stress is significantly reduced by hyperbaric oxygen sessions, as hyperbaric oxygen stimulates superoxide dismutase which is the most powerful antioxidant and detoxification enzyme our bodies can produce – thus an antioxidant protection effect is enabled.

  • Not only does hyperbaric oxygen induce long-term changes to help combat men’s cardiovascular disease, but HBO has also been awarded for its use in emergency treatment.

  • The American Heart Association (AHA) 65th Scientific Session held in New Orleans issued a press release praising the use of hyperbaric oxygen to boost emergency treatment for heart attack.

  • AHA advised that HBO can be used as a treatment to enhance clot-dissolving drugs ability to minimise heart damage and save the lives of heart attack patients.

  • The statements came as a result of clinical trials which proved that the addition of HBO resulted in earlier relief of chest pain and ECG changes toward normal in patients treated with the clot-dissolver, tissue plasminogen activator. HBO also tended to preserve more of the heart’s blood pumping capacity.

Laboratory studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen minimises cell damage and death by reducing fluid accumulation in injured heart cells. It is believed that hyperbaric oxygen’s primary effect in heart attack may be to reduce edema (fluid accumulation) in heart cells.

Dr Ellestad, a director of research at the Memorial Heart Institute at Long Breach Memorial Medical Center in California, studied forty-six heart attack patients, of which twenty-two only received standard care and the remaining twenty four patients got standard care followed by two hours of treatment in hyperbaric chamber. Patients treated with HBO felt chest pain relief an average of 271 minutes after the onset of heart attack symptoms, a statistically significant difference compared to the 671 minutes of patients who received only standard care. Dr Ellestad said patients generally reported an easing of chest pain within ten minutes of entering the hyperbaric chamber. Hyperbaric oxygen reduced 50% the time required for the heart to resume normal electrical activity, as determined by an electrocardiogram, which tells that hyperbaric oxygen has the ability to salvage heart muscle cells.

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