The study by Cannellotto and colleagues1 balanced many factors relating to COVID-19 so as to be maximally safe for the enroled participants. The authors selected a very low treatment pressure, 1.45 ATA, and by doing so attempted to minimise any haemodynamic risks for the enroled patients.
While a few previously published studies have suggested that HBOT is a safe and effective method for easing breathing difficulties, and the associated inflammation, in patients with COVID-19, well designed studies are needed to confirm this, say the researchers.
“Our findings suggest that supplementing oxygen through HBO2 treatment contributed to an increased [oxygen saturation] in patients with COVID-19 with severe hypoxaemia [breathing difficulties], with no significant adverse effects.
“Cases of severe COVID-19 that need mechanical ventilation have a high mortality risk. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies are needed, and this study offers evidence supporting HBO2 treatment.”
They add: “This treatment could be easily available in various settings. Portable hyperbaric chambers offer a fast set up to avoid transferring patients to other hospital areas, attenuating the risk of virus transmission.