December 4, 1981

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Stroke

Author Affiliations

Ocean Medical Center Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla

JAMA. 1981;246(22):2574. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320220026007

To the Editor.—  Regarding the recent answer to a question on hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy and stroke (1981;245:1873), I think that the scientific documentation for this form of treatment could have been more fully stated.In the patient with acute stroke, cerebral edema may cause transtentorial herniation, impaired cerebral blood flow, and death.1 Indeed, cerebral edema is one of the major factors in a poor outcome for stroke patients. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been demonstrated to be a viable treatment for acute cerebral edema,2 and its use for this purpose is recommended by the Undersea Medical Society and paid for by Medicare. Brain damage in stroke patients may be further reduced by the increased oxygen delivery, a physiological effect of HBO therapy that is also well documented. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also dramatically reduces RBC agglutination, which could improve cerebral blood flow.3Early studies of the use of