[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 5, 1965

Medical Considerations and Applications of Hyperbaric Oxygenation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 1965;193(1):31-36. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090010037009

The recent intense interest in hyperbaric oxygenation has been stimulated by its potential usefulness in cardiovascular surgery and cancer therapy. Historically, hyperbaria was first recommended in the medical management of disease as early as the beginning of the 19th century. It was used in France to improve the patient's feeling of well-being, presumably by enhancing the circulation. The early application of hyperbaria in the treatment of respiratory diseases was helpful probably by increasing the inspired oxygen tension. By the middle of the 19th century, many hyperbaric centers were established for the treatment of a variety of illnesses, including malaise, headache, hemoptysis, tuberculosis, deafness, bronchopulmonary disease, dysmenorrhea, bronchial asthma, pernicious anemia, syphilis, and smallpox. The wave of enthusiasm for this form of therapy subsided only to be revived in the early part of the 20th century when very elaborate chambers were built to produce remarkable cures in such illnesses as diabetes,