The Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a Treatment for Postconcussion Symptoms

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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Jeremy R. Hawkins
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Kayla E. Gonzalez
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Kristin J. Heumann
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Clinical Scenario:

Concussions are a prevalent topic in medicine. Concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive impairments, the persistence of which is referred to as postconcussion syndrome. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been proposed and evaluated as an additional treatment of these symptoms. HBOT is an innovative approach that has been considered by many but has received both criticism and acceptance.

Clinical Question:

Is HBOT an effective means of reducing symptoms for individuals suffering from postconcussion syndrome (persistence of symptoms for >3 mo)?

Summary of Search:

The literature was searched for studies that were relevant to the clinical question. Literature provided 5 level 1 studies that were relevant enough to be considered.

Clinical Bottom Line:

Based on the research that is available, the authors conclude that there is more evidence to refute the use of HBOT for postconcussion syndrome than to support it.

Strength of Recommendation:

Four studies disprove the use of HBOT; 1 study supported the use of HBOT. These 5 studies are the same level of evidence (level 1) and provide significant findings in their studies. The strength of this recommendation is a B according to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

The authors are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO.

Address author correspondence to Hawkins ( is corresponding author.
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