Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of long COVID: early evaluation of a highly promising intervention

Tim Robbins, Michael Gonevski, Cain Clark, Sudhanshu Baitule, Kavi Sharma, Angel Magar, Kiran Patel, Sailesh Sankar, Ioannis Kyrou, Asad Ali, Harpal S. Randeva

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background Long COVID is a common occurrence following COVID-19 infection. The most common symptom reported is fatigue. Limited interventional treatment options exist. We report the first evaluation of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for long COVID treatment. Methods A total of 10 consecutive patients received 10 sessions of HBOT to 2.4 atmospheres over 12 days. Each treatment session lasted 105 minutes, consisting of three 30-minute exposures to 100% oxygen, interspersed with 5-minute air breaks. Validated fatigue and cognitive scoring assessments were performed at day 1 and 10. Statistical analysis was with Wilcoxon signed-rank testing reported alongside effect sizes. Results HBOT yielded a statistically significant improvement in the Chalder fatigue scale (p=0.0059; d=1.75 (very large)), global cognition (p=0.0137; d=–1.07 (large)), executive function (p=0.0039; d=–1.06 (large)), attention (p=0.0020; d=–1.2 (very large)), information processing (p=0.0059; d=–1.25 (very large)) and verbal function (p=0.0098; d=–0.92 (large)). Conclusion Long COVID-related fatigue can be debilitating, and may affect young people who were previously in economic employment. The results presented here suggest potential benefits of HBOT, with statistically significant results following 10 sessions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E629-E632
    Number of pages4
    JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
    Volume21
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Dec 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © Royal College of Physicians 2021. All rights reserved.

    Keywords

    • Fatigue
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    • Long COVID

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)

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