HBOT a Potential Treatment for Those with Long COVID

By Jamie Funk, CNA, CHT, CSWA – Hyperbaric Safety Director

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a great treatment modality for many conditions.  It can be used to help heal wounds after surgery, for concussions, strokes, autoimmune disorders and so much more.

Recently, HBOT is being tested and used to treat various symptoms related to long COVID, a condition which affects an estimated 10% to 20% of people initially diagnosed with COVID.  Long COVID symptoms can include fatigue, cough, brain fog, shortness of breath, anxiety, and depression.  Currently there are limited treatment options for those suffering these symptoms, and even fewer treatment options for those suffering from fatigue.  The fatigue can be particularly severe, preventing individuals from performing their usual work and activities. 

Researchers from around the world have been experimenting with HBOT as a treatment to speed up the recovery of long COVID and reporting success.  In Israel, a study looked at a group of patients whose cognitive symptoms lasted at least three months.  The group experienced 40 sessions of HBOT over the course of two months, receiving 100% oxygen over the course of 90 minutes.  These individuals reported a marked improvement in cognitive function as well as increased energy levels, improved sleep function, and elevated mood.  The study authors suggest that HBOT’s benefits are due to an increase in blood flow and neuroplasticity.  Low blood flow is associated with a range of brain health issues. 

This echoes a study completed by scientists in England.  In that study, patients experienced 10 sessions of HBOT over the course of 12 days.  Tests to assess fatigue and cognitive function also showed marked improvements between the start and end of the therapy. 

Utilizing the knowledge and expertise from this research, at PRO Medical, we’ve treated several patients who have been looking for solutions to alleviate their long COVID symptoms.  Using similar protocol from those studies, our patients are reporting significant improvements in fatigue and breathlessness. 

At PRO Medical, individuals experience Hyperbaric oxygen therapy by lying in a highly pressurized chamber for an hour while breathing in 100% pure oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure. Under these conditions, every cell is richly saturated with oxygen which accelerates the body’s natural healing processes, reduce inflammation, and fight infection.  The total treatment time is about 75 minutes from start to finish. 

PRO Medical offers two state-of-the-art Sechrist H Model monoplace chambers, which are rated the best in the world. Plus, the spacious acrylic chamber offers the highest comfort level.

HBOT has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome which is presenting similarly to the fatigue associated with long COVID.  HBOT shows some early promise to help with long COVID symptoms. However, if you already have long COVID, we recommend speaking with your physician about other treatments.  It is currently not approved by the Food and Drug administration for treatment of long COVID. 

Jamie Funk, CNA, CHT, CWCA

Jamie has been working in healthcare since 2006 with assisted living care, oncology, and hyperbaric therapy. She was first introduced to hyperbaric oxygen therapy in September of 2011. In 2013, she earned her hyperbaric technologist certification from the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology. In October of 2018, she earned her CWCA (certified wound care associate) from the American Board of Wound Management. Jamie is the only CNA in the country certified in both hyperbaric therapy and wound care. She is passionate about witnessing the positive impact and life-changing benefits that hyperbaric therapy makes in the lives of her patients. Jamie finds it incredibly rewarding to know that she’s helped make a difference, for the better, in someone’s life.

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