COVID-19 has disrupted the global healthcare system without much respite.
So much so, even after recovery, the post COVID symptoms are looming heavily for several individuals, thus keeping medical professionals on their toes.
In 2020, when initial COVID cases turned out to be a baffling affair for medicos, the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber sought potentially favorable results. Hence, as a complementary treatment option, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is now being looked at as a prominent after-care option to counter a multitude of post COVID symptoms.
Recent medical studies and researches have further depicted the efficacy of HBOT against long-term post COVID symptoms which is never a single one, but a group of symptoms emerging together.
This post discusses the role and scope of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in dealing with multiple known and unknown post COVID symptoms.
The majority of patients who contract COVID reportedly recover within a few weeks. However, there are a good number of patients (say anywhere between fifty to eighty percent ) who have complained of several recurring symptoms even after three months of being tested negative.
Precisely, such cases invariably get identified as long-term post COVID syndrome or post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. The patients showing such symptoms are more popularly known as “long haulers”.
Now, theoretically, any long hauler is a patient who hasn’t noticed similar conditions of depressed health, similar to the first time infection for six months at least, following his recovery.
Given the fact that all post-COVID-19 symptoms are a combination of several complications and signs, it could be an intimidating experience for many. Some of the commonly experienced symptoms include:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Cognitive Impairment
- Chest pain
- Impaired memory
- Brain inflammation (low level)
- Reduced blood flow
- Several other neurological issues
Harvard Health Publishing in their report has also declared how more than forty percent of post COVID symptoms come from patients who show neurological manifestations. Another thirty percent depicted impaired cognition which includes moderate to severe brain damage followed by psychological as well as behavioral issues.
Besides, patients have also experienced recurrent episodes of dizziness, anosmia, myalgia, frequent headaches, dysgeusia, and encephalopathy.
The role of HBOT as an alternative form of treatment has long been debated for a multitude of conditions.
Although its efficacy has had its fair share of success and failure, its role to bring about relief from symptoms of deoxygenation cannot be summarily rejected.
The acute infection that occurs with the virus transmission is generally accompanied by thrombophilia, which is characterized by the occlusion of small and large blood vessels. As such, it is a major trigger point for high mortality.
Furthermore, the infection-induced by COVID-19 can lead to what is called, a cytokine storm. Simply put, it’s a systematic aggressive inflammatory response that witnesses the releases of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Multiple research studies taking into the analysis of cytokine profiles have revealed how the COVID-19 affected experiencing cytokine storm, bears a strong correlation to acute lung injury as well as multi-organ failure, followed by several instances of unfavorable prognosis arising out of the serious impact of the virus.
Neuroinflammation which is generally one of the most obvious aftermaths of COVID leads to local hypoxia.
Thus, to counteract the symptoms, one requires a solid viral immune treatment option that would activate the inflammatory tracks of the body’s natural immune system. By using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, it is possible to reverse the ill effects of hypoxia, mitigate the neuroinflammation levels, and induce neuroplasticity.
Relying on the power of pure, unadulterated oxygen at a pressure exceeding 1.4 ATA, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber has turned out to be beneficial for COVID-19 patients.
Symptoms like hypoxia, which is an ischemic condition, can significantly be reversed using HBOT as it readily enhances oxygenation across tissues. Medical studies suggest how HBOT can be functional to engage right along a regenerative process that includes a proliferation of stem cells and mobilization based on anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic factors.
As per the latest clinical data, the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is in line with the general protocol that is reserved for treating COVID-19 patients. It pertains to a total of forty daily sessions, five times over a week, for a period no less than two months. All patients receiving HBOT shall breathe one hundred percent pure, unadulterated oxygen at no less than 2ATA during a typical ninety-minute session.
In essence, the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber forms a part of the latest clinical studies and the extensive body of research work that is in line to find a plausible cure for post-COVID-19 long-term symptoms.
Although vaccines have been made available for COVID, people are still getting affected even after being administered more than one dosage.
In such dire times, one must keep their trust in alternative medications like HBOT which has been used for several years to treat several clinical complications.
When one looks at restoring energy (one of the primary goals of aftercare treatment) post-COVID-19, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber can certainly be beneficial, unlike other forms of treatment.