Oxygen Therapy May Help to Treat Traumatic Brain Injuries

What is oxygen therapy?

Millions of Americans visit emergency rooms across the nation each year for traumatic brain injuries.  Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of hospitalizations and death. While mild TBIs may resolve in a matter of just weeks, more serious brain injuries could continue to cause problems for months or even years after the accident.  Until now, few treatment options have been available to TBI sufferers.  Researchers are now testing whether oxygen therapy could provide the answer for allowing the brain to heal quicker.  Our New Mexico brain injury attorneys explore oxygen therapy for traumatic brain injuries below.

Symptoms of a TBI

Following even a mild traumatic brain injury, TBI sufferers may experience cognitive problems, headaches, depression, fatigue, and other mood disorders.  Physicians will commonly treat these symptoms by prescribing painkillers or antidepressants, but both of these measures address the symptoms rather than eliminating the actual cause.

Oxygen Therapy Basics

Oxygen therapy purports to treat not just the symptoms but the cause of the lingering post-concussion symptoms.  Hyperbaric treatment involves exposing a brain injured patient to pure oxygen at an increased air pressure.  The premise is that most individuals do not have enough oxygen to heal their brain injuries. Hyperbaric treatment greatly increases the amount of oxygen that the brain can use to heal itself.

Doctors that employ hyperbaric therapy as a part of their treatment plan will typically expose the patient to between 40 and 60 hour long treatments over a course of several months.  While in the chamber, patients will take in 10 times as much oxygen as they normally would.  Supporters feel that the extra oxygen triggers brain repair.  The treatment has long been accepted for treating other conditions, though its use in TBIs is fairly new.

While hyperbaric treatment has many supporters, others question its true effectiveness when it comes to brain injuries. They claim that the field is not supported by scientific research and the costs of oxygen therapy remain high.  TBI sufferers should consult with their physician and thoroughly research whether oxygen therapy may be a helpful treatment option for them.

Posted in: Brain Injuries