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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Indications

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12th Edition: Published 2008

Formally "The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee Report: Indications and Results."

As each year goes by, the body of scientific evidence to support the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy builds…
Pressurization of a gas to treat medical disorders was first utilized in 1662 by a British clergyman named Henshaw. At that time, air was compressed in a sealed chamber he called a "Domicillium.” Without evidence, Henshaw theorized that acute disorders of all kinds would benefit from increased pressure. Compression of oxygen was introduced in 1879 by a French surgeon. Fontaine constructed a mobile operating room which could be pressurized. He observed that pressurized patients were not as cyanotic after the use of nitrous oxide during surgery as compared to patients who had been treated in the traditional fashion. In addition, he noted that hernias were much easier to reduce. Around that same time, the work of Paul Bert and J. Lorrain-Smith showed that oxygen under pressure had potentially deleterious consequences on the human body with side effects that included central nervous system and pulmonary toxicity.
The field of hyperbaric medicine evolved from the early years of observation and anecdote to one of scientific trials and evidence-based medicine. The work of pioneers such as Behnke and Cousteau gave us the foundation on which undersea medicine and research has flourished. The efforts of Churchill-Davidson and Boerema spurred the modern scientific use of clinical hyperbaric medicine. In 1967, The Undersea Medical Society was formed to support and further the scientific field of diving and undersea medicine. As the applications and use in the clinical arena grew, the society expanded to include clinical hyperbaric medicine. This evolution prompted the society to formally change its name to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society in 1986.  In 1972, an Ad Hoc Medicare committee was formed to evaluate the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for specified medical conditions. The focus was to determine if this treatment modality showed therapeutic benefit and merited insurance coverage. The growth of the body of scientific evidence that had developed over the preceding years supported this endeavor and recognition for the field.  The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society established the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee in 1976. The first report was published the following year and served as guidance for practitioners. Additionally, the document continues to be used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other third party carriers in determining reimbursement. The report, currently in its twelfth edition, has grown in size and depth to reflect the evolution of the literature. To date, the Committee recognizes thirteen indications. It is believed that the scientific evidence supports the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treatment of these medical conditions from both a clinical practice standpoint and insurance coverage perspective.
The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society has grown in strength and reputation over the years. It continues to be known for its expertise on compression therapy. The authors of the chapters in this book are some of the leading experts in the field. The goal of this publication is to provide guidance and support for scientists and practitioners of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
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