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Heart Disease

Priming the Pump

There are many conditions that affect the heart and it’s not easy to generalize them all in one category. Many of these conditions will have their own pages here on this website for further resources, but we can summarize the symptoms and discuss how hyperbaric therapy may help.
Generally, heart diseases may be triggered by damage to heart tissue, damage to blood vessels leading to or from the heart and insufficient oxygen or other nutrients getting to the heart. There are many reasons these issues can occur, ranging from genetic defects, to injuries or even unhealthy lifestyle choices. Types of heart diseases include: coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, mitral valve prolapse, aortic stenosis, aortic aneurysm, cardiac arrest, peripheral artery disease, high blood pressure and many more.

Patients with heart diseases may experience a wide variety of symptoms that include chest pain, respiratory distress, irregular heart rate, cold, swollen or discolored extremities, dizziness, fainting, and dysfunction of other organs.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been prescribed by physicians as an adjunctive modality for many heart related conditions. Hyperbarics has been proven to increase blood and oxygen flow to the entire body, generate new blood vessels (angiogenesis), as well as stimulate genes responsible for tissue growth and repair. These mechanisms of action may improve patient outcomes by delivering oxygen to hypoxic areas, reducing inflammation to injured tissue, and by stimulating the growth of stem cells, new blood vessels and tissues.

Hands holding heart-shaped red object.

Heart Disease and Hyperbarics: Studies, Articles and Videos

2020 Study on Myocardial Function and HBOT

Leitman M, Efrati S, Fuchs S, Hadanny A, Vered Z. The effect of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy on myocardial function. Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 May;36(5):833-840. doi: 10.1007/s10554-020-01773-0. Epub 2020 Jan 17. PMID: 31953651
Hyperbaric oxygenation therapy is successfully implemented for the treatment of several disorders. Data on the effect of hyperbaric oxygenation on echocardiographic parameters in asymptomatic patients is limited. The current study sought to evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy on echocardiographic parameters in asymptomatic patients. Thirty-one consecutive patients underwent a 60-sessions course of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy in an attempt to improve cognitive impairment. In all subjects, echocardiography examination was performed before and after a course of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy. Conventional and speckle tracking imaging parameters were calculated and analyzed. The mean age was 70 ± 9.5 years, 28 [90%] were males. History of coronary artery disease was present in 12 [39%]. 94% suffered from hypertension, 42% had diabetes mellitus. Baseline wall motion abnormalities were found in eight patients, however, global ejection fraction was within normal limits. During the study, ejection fraction [EF], increased from 60.71 ± 6.02 to 62.29 ± 5.19%, p = 0.02. Left ventricular end systolic volume [LVESV], decreased from 38.08 ± 13.30 to 35.39 ± 13.32 ml, p = 0.01. Myocardial performance index [MPi] improved, from 0.29 ± 0.07 to 0.26 ± 0.08, p = 0.03. Left ventricular [LV] global longitudinal strain increased from – 19.31 ± 3.17% to – 20.16 ± 3.34%, p = 0.036 due to improvement in regional strain in the apical and antero-septal segments. Twist increased from 18.32 ± 6.61° to 23.12 ± 6.35° p = 0.01, due to improvement in the apical rotation, from 11.76 ± 4.40° to 16.10 ± 5.56°, p = 0.004. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy appears to improve left ventricular function, especially in the apical segments, and is associated with better cardiac performance. If our results are confirmed in further studies, HBOT can be used in many patients with heart failure and systolic dysfunction.
See full study here

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Acute Myocardial Infarction and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Study

Conclusion: In conclusion, the present study showed that HBOT application that accompanied the acute MI traditional pharmacotherapy was proved to reduce rMI within 5 years following inpatient discharge (rate of rMI was 14% in the reference group and 5.4% in the test group, χ 2 = 13.3, р < 0.05). Therefore, the joint application of HBOT and traditional method in treating acute MI makes it possible to raise the 5-year survival rate from 84.4% up to 95.9%.
See full study here
Stethoscope in heart shape on EKG

Can hyperbaric oxygen be used as adjunctive heart failure therapy?

Heart failure (HF) is a chronic condition that is expected to increase in incidence along with increased life expectancy and an aging population. As the incidence of HF increases, the cost to national healthcare budgets is expected to run into the billions. The costs of lost productivity and increased social reliance on state support must also be considered. Recently, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has come to be seen as the major contributing factor to HF. Although thrombolysis may restore coronary perfusion after an AMI, it may also introduce ischemic reperfusion injury (IRI). In an attempt to ameliorate sustained protein damage caused by IRI, endogenous chaperone proteins known as heat shock proteins (HSPs) are induced as a consequence of the stress of IRI. Recently, hyperbaric oxygen has been shown to induce the production of HSPs in noncardiac tissue, with a resultant protective effect. This current opinion review article suggests a possible role for hyperbaric oxygen, as a technologically modern drug, in augmenting the induction of endogenous HSPs to repair and improve the function of failing hearts that have been damaged by AMI and IRI. In addition, this simple, safe, noninvasive drug may prove useful in easing the economic burden of HF on already overextended health resources.
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Heart Disease and Hyperbarics: Studies, Articles and Videos

Angiogenesis increased through hyperbarics: A study

Conclusion: Short-term hyperbaric exposure appears to increase angiogenesis in isolated tissue constructs. Prolonged hyperbaric exposure may lead to vascular pruning. Short-term hyperbaric exposure appears to expedite the natural vascularization process, resulting in equivalent vascularization in a shorter time. For complete study click here.
heart in hand graphic

Sternal infection post cardiothoracic surgery & hyperbarics

HBO2 counteracts tissue hypoxia by elevating tissue oxygen partial pressure, promotes wound healing, has the synergistic effect when combined with some antibiotics and prevents infection. In this study, all patients who received HBO2 therapy as an adjunctive treatment for post-cardiothoracic surgery related sternal infection and osteomyelitis achieved a favorable result. We suggest a combination of aggressive surgical debridement, antibiotic treatment and adjunctive HBO2 therapy for patients who develop sternal infection and osteomyelitis after cardiothoracic surgery. For complete study click here.
Surgical instruments