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September 4, 1981

Evaluation continues of 'HBO' clinical uses

JAMA. 1981;246(10):1059-1064. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320100007003

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In at least nine situations—decompression sickness, acute gas embolism, gas gangrene, soft-tissue infection, compromised skin grafts or flaps, acute carbon monoxide poisoning, cyanide poisoning, smoke inhalation, and exceptional blood loss when tranfusion is delayed or impossible—there seems to be little doubt about the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) as primary or adjunctive therapy, says Richard D. Heimbach, MD, PhD.

However, Heimbach says, it is not possible to spell out specific treatment protocols or hyperbaric pressures to be used: The physician should have the flexibility to alter the HBO treatment to fit the case.

Heimbach, an Air Force colonel who commands the hyperbaric medicine division at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Tex, is chairman of a five-year-old committee of the Undersea Medical Society (UMS) that evaluates clinical applications of HBO and has categorized disorders for which it is or may be useful. Most of the 18 HBO