Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used as an adjunct to surgery and antibiotic therapy for intracranial abscess. The bacteria
involved in brain abscess are mainly anaerobic, meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments. HBOT inhibits anaerobic and
some other bacteria from replicating, spreading, and releasing damaging toxins. Hyperbaric oxygen may also help reduce brain
swelling, boost the effect of antibiotics, and enhance the body’s natural defenses against bacteria and other microbial organisms.
Hyperbaric oxygen may be especially useful for multiple abscesses in deep or dominant locations, in patients with immune
compromise, and when the infection does not respond well to traditional surgery and antibiotics. UHMS guidelines
recommend daily or twice-daily treatment of 60-90 minutes at 2.0 to 2.5 atmospheres of absolute pressure (ATA).
Read the page
in the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society resource library to learn more about intracranial abscess, the rationale
for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and key clinical evidence, outcomes, and success factors.
Brain abscesses are deadly serious but much less fatal (10%-30%) since the advent of computed tomography (CT) imaging
devices, CT-guided surgical techniques (needle aspiration), and improved microbiology testing and antibiotic regimens.
Like osteomyelitis and necrotizing infections, brain abscesses involve some rather frightening germs. As antibiotics
and other traditional weapons against these worrisome microscopic invaders begin to weaken, HBOT provides a vital backstop.
The mechanisms at work here also greatly interest researchers investigating hyperbaric oxygen for traumatic brain injury (TBI).