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January 25, 1965

Retinal Vascular Response to Hyperbaric Oxygenation

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine (Drs. Saltzman and Sieker) and medical photography, Duke University Medical Center, and the Medical illustration Service of the VA Hospital, Durham, NC (Mr. Hart). Mr. Duffy is an undergraduate at Duke University.

JAMA. 1965;191(4):290-292. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080040032007

Hyperbaric oxygenation increases both the tension and concentration of oxygen in blood to levels far in excess of that obtained by any other means.1,2 The resultant increase in oxygen delivery to tissues may correct or prevent hypoxic damage if the ischemic organs are adequately perfused.3 Central nervous system tissue is especially vulnerable to hypoxic damage and improved oxygenation due to hyperbaric exposure would be of great clinical value. However, previous studies indicate that cerebral blood flow decreases during the respiration of pure oxygen.4 As a result, cerebral venous blood is incompletely oxygenated, despite increases in arterial blood oxygen tension to values in excess of 2,100 mm Hg.2 In order to further evaluate this problem, the retinal vasculature of normal subjects was photographed and measured during exposure to both increased atmospheric pressures and hyperoxia in a hyperbaric chamber. The retinal portion of the cerebral circulation is easily