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HBOT Protocols Improve Aging Cardiac Function

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 13 Feb 2020
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Image: HBOT lounges at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research (Photo courtesy of Shamir Medical Center)
Image: HBOT lounges at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research (Photo courtesy of Shamir Medical Center)
A new study demonstrates the positive, sustained effect of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy (HBOT) protocols on heart function in healthy aging heart populations.

Researchers at Shamir Medical Center (Zerifin, Israel) and Tel Aviv University (Israel) conducted an observational, prospective study involving 31 patients (mean age 70 years, 90% male) in order to evaluate the effect of HBOT treatment on cardiac function in an aging population with a "normal for their age" cardiac function. Participants underwent a 60-session HBOT treatment course and were evaluated before HBOT was administered and three weeks after treatment concluded to identify sustained effects.

The results showed a small increase in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), a minor decrease in left ventricular end systolic volume (LVESV), and higher global and regional left ventricular strain--which indicates the efficacy of cardiac muscle contraction--due to improvement in regional strain in the apical and antero-septal segments. In addition, cardiac twist increased by five degrees due to an improvement in apical rotation. The study was published on January 17, 2020, in The International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging.

“Up until now, the effect of the hyperbaric oxygen environment on cardiac function was mostly evaluated during and after short-term exposures,” said lead author Marina Leitman, MD, of Shamir Medical Center. “Unlike a single exposure to high pressure, the regenerative HBOT protocols that are administered at the Sagol Center have the potential to induce beneficial effects in heart function. These results show that even in a healthy asymptomatic population, cardiac function was improved, opening the door for further study on the impact of this novel therapy on conditions related to cardiac disease.”

“As we age, a decrease in mitochondrial function occurs throughout the body, impacting the functionality of organs, including the heart,” said study co-author Shai Efrati, MD, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center. “For the first time in humans, using our HBOT protocol, we have demonstrated the possibility of heart functionality improvement in healthy, aging people. The results of this study are in accordance with other studies demonstrating that HBOT can improve mitochondrial function.”

HBOT involves 100% pure oxygen delivered to a patient at atmospheric pressure three times higher than normal air pressure in an enclosed chamber. At those pressures, the body is able to incorporate more oxygen into blood cells, blood plasma, cerebral-spinal, and other bodily fluids; the increased oxygen absorption significantly enhances the body’s ability to aid in its own healing. In 1937 hyperbaric oxygen treatments were first used for decompression sickness, but it was not until 1956 that HBOT was used as a therapeutic aid in cardiopulmonary surgery.

Related Links:
Shamir Medical Center
Tel Aviv University



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