Evidence of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in health cost optimization

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) accelerates the healing times of different types of wounds, including diabetic foot. Likewise, it favors neurological rehabilitation and reduces post-surgical complications. The Argentine Journal of Medicine published a paper by Dr. Mónica del Carmen Jorge, Laura F. Ríos, Oscar Merbilhaa, and Mercedes Portas, all members of the International Hyperbaric Medicine and Research Association (Ihmera). The objective of this narrative review is to examine the published literature on cost-effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

102 scientific papers were analyzed. The priority was cost analysis, meta-analysis, systematic reviews, randomized controlled clinical trials, and observational trials, in that order. 64 wound healing works, 15 works related to surgical procedures and 23 neurological rehabilitation works were selected. Eleven of the reviewed works are related to cost analysis; two are systematic reviews, one includes randomized controlled trials and another includes two studies that conducted a cost-utility study with QALY (quality-adjusted life year) analysis.

Wound healing: HBOT is widely used worldwide as an adjunctive treatment for diabetic ulcers. Most of the work emphasizes its therapeutic efficacy. A Cochrane review shows that healing is accelerated over a period of six months and in some cases, major amputations are limited to minor amputations.

Surgical complications: the most frequent complications of surgery are surgical site infections. HBOT is a potent activator of conventional therapy, as it increases the bactericidal activity of antibiotics, makes treatment more effective and decreases the chances of antimicrobial resistance. HBOT has been shown to increase the effectiveness of antimicrobial treatment in mediastinitis, osteomyelitis and surgical site infections.

Potentiation of pharmacotherapy and neurological rehabilitation: hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a potent action in the decrease of proinflammatory interleukins; a direct and proven analgesic effect in rheumatologic, oncological and neuro sensitive syndromes. In addition, it optimizes the recovery of the neurological deficit of the patient with stroke, ischemia and brain traumas.

According to the results presented by the different scientific papers and the recovery rates reported in the different pathologies and surgical procedures, hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be highly beneficial in the cost-effectiveness relationship. This therapy achieves a lower incidence of post-surgical complications and substantial improvement in recovery times, even in refractory wounds.

To read the full article and review the tables, click here: http://www.revistasam.com.ar/index.php/RAM/article/view/343