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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with COVID-19
  1. John Kirby
  1. Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Kirby, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA; kirbyj{at}

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Dr Cannellotto and colleagues have published a prospective, multi-centred, open-label randomised controlled study of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) as an adjuvant treatment for patients with COVID-19 who have severe hypoxemia. The study included 40 patients, 20 in the HBO2 treatment arm and 20 in a control (no HBO2) arm who were unable to achieve an oxygen saturation of 90% despite oxygen supplementation. In the current era—both in terms of well conducted research and especially given the COVID-19 pandemic—this is a deceptively difficult challenge to overcome. HBO research is often hobbled by preconceptions about its utility and the costs of performing it appropriately. I would also point out that this was done in Argentina even though the majority of patients with COVID-19, if not the majority of HBO2 chambers themselves, lie outside of that country. This group of interested, committed clinicians were trying to improve the care of their patients with COVID-19 in a time of a pandemic and also managed to write up their work on behalf of all. Bravo.

The study by Cannellotto and colleagues1 balanced many factors relating to COVID-19 so as to be maximally safe for the enroled participants. The authors selected a very low treatment pressure, 1.45 ATA, and by doing so attempted to minimise any haemodynamic risks for the enroled patients. Those less familiar with HBO2 should know that 1.4 ATA is the minimum …

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  • Handling editor Ellen J Weber

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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