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The Inspiring Journey of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, from the Controversy to the Acceptance by the Scientific Community

Background: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is achieved when the patient is breathing 100% O2 intermittently in a closed chamber (hyperbaric chamber), while the chamber pressure is greater than 1 atm. For the standards of contemporary medicine science, the HBOT is a relatively new treatment, as it struggles to be supported scientifically over the last 50 years. The objective of this literature review is to highlight the importance of the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO). Initially by presenting the continuous efforts made for hundreds of years, for safer and more effective use as therapy. Focusing on the history, clinical use, and finally understanding the effect of air under increased atmospheric pressure.

Methods: Bibliographic research in the following databases: Medline, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cinahl, and Iatrotek on-line. Furthermore, relevant articles and books were also manually searched in the Library of the Health Sciences of the University of Athens.

Results: The use of HBO as an adjunctive therapy according to the internationally recognized indications, has become widely accepted, mainly due to the specification of the physiological effects of HBO in various systems and its mechanisms. Further research is necessary, in order to ensure the best possible therapeutic effect.

Conclusion: As medical thought and technology has matured, it appears that is the proper time for the complete clarification of the potential uses of HBO. Supported methods and advanced technological equipment are necessary in order to develop medical and nursing practice, as well as research documentation.

Author(s): Theodora St. Nikitopoulou and Athanasia H Papalimperi

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