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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2012 Nov-Dec;39(6):1121-39.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and delayed radiation injuries (soft tissue and bony necrosis): 2012 update.

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Radiation Oncology, University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio, USA.


Informal surveys at CME meetings have shown that approximately one-third of patients in the United States receive hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) for delayed radiation injury. More than 600,000 patients receive radiation for malignancy in our country annually, and about one-half will be long-term survivors. Serious radiation complications occur in 5-10% of survivors. A large population of patients is therefore at risk for radiation injury. HBO2 has been applied to treat patients with radiation injury since the mid-1970s. Published results are consistently positive, but the level of evidence for individual publications is usually not high level, consisting mostly of case series and case reports. Only a rare randomized controlled trial has been accomplished. Radiation injury is one of the UHMS "approved" indications, and third-party payors will usually reimburse for this application. This updated review summarizes the publications available reporting results in treating radiation-injured patients. Mechanisms of HBO2 in radiation injury are discussed briefly. Outcome is reported on a mostly anatomic basis though due to the nature of the injury a positive outcome at one anatomic site is supportive of HBO2 at other sites. The potential benefit of prophylactic HBO2 before frank damage is also discussed in high-risk patients. The concerns of HBO2 enhancing growth of or precipitating recurrence of malignancy is discussed and largely refuted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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