Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Stroke Victims

By February 27, 2017 No Comments

In Canada, there are 62,000 stroke victims per year. From Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada), Nicole Dufresne chose hyperbaric medicine as a solution to improve her quality of life after having been the victim of a stroke in July 2014. The 74-year-old woman undergoes hyperbaric oxygen therapy five times a week at the Interdisciplinary Kinesiology Clinic (Clinique de Kinésiologie Interdisciplinaire) of Sherbrooke, which acquired an Oxynova hyperbaric chamber. With an average duration of two hours, the chamber sessions are also complemented with exercises with a clinic kinesiologist. Since her first treatment in June 2016, Mrs. Dufresne has had remarkable results. Upon arriving at the clinic, she was in a wheelchair and was forced to wear a full orthosis up to the knee. Today, she can walk with a cane and her orthosis is limited to supporting her foot and ankle. Hyperbaric treatments have allowed Mrs. Dufresne to regain her freedom as she can finally undertake the gestures of everyday life with greater ease and speed.

a stroke victim is using Oxynova hyperbaric chamber

Photo credit: Radio-Canada/ICI Estrie/Carl Marchand

Research Progress
In Canada, studies on the effects of hyperbaric medicine to treat stroke patients are still embryonic. It is a researcher from Israel, Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Tel Aviv, who conducted the first more extensive research. The results of his research suggest that damage to neurons in the brain could be reversed by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Patients should be able to benefit from a better quality of life and increase their autonomy. As a result of these exciting findings, Dr. David Harrisson of the Vancouver General Hospital addressed the issue by launching a clinical study that is expected to end in 2019 and which involves 140 patients. Dr. Harisson hopes to demonstrate the effectiveness of hyperbaric medicine in treating stroke; conclusive results would convince the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society, the organization to which Health Canada (Santé Canada) refers, to authorize treatment which could then become more accessible to the country. Health Canada recognizes the treatment of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in several cases such as embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, decompression sickness, anemia, cerebral abscess, skin grafts that do not heal, and heat burns.

Source:  Marchand, Carl. “L’oxygénothérapie pour traiter des victimes d’AVC”, Ici Radio-Canada, February 19, 2017. Read the full article » (only in French).