Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in acute ischemic stroke: Results of the hyperbaric oxygen in acute ischemic stroke trial pilot study

Daniel E. Rusyniak, Mark A. Kirk, Jason D. May, Louise W. Kao, Edward J. Brizendine, Julie L. Welch, William H. Cordell, Robert J. Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) has promise as a treatment for acute stroke. This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and feasibility of using HBO in acute ischemic stroke. Methods - We conducted a randomized, prospective, double-blind, sham-controlled pilot study of 33 patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke who did not receive thrombolytics over a 24-month period. Patients were randomized to treatment for 60 minutes in a monoplace hyperbaric chamber pressurized with 100% 02 to 2.5-atm absolute (ATA) in the HBO group or 1.14 ATA in the sham group. Primary outcomes measured included percentage of patients with improvement at 24 hours (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS]) and 90 days (NIHSS, Barthel Index, modified Rankin Scale, Glasgow Outcome Scale). Secondary measurements included complications of treatment and mortality at 90 days. Results - Baseline demographics were similar in both groups. There were no differences between the groups at 24 hours (P=0.44). At 3 months, however, a larger percentage of the sham patients had a good outcome defined by their stroke scores compared with the HBO group (NIHSS, 80% versus 31.3%; P=0.04; Barthel Index, 81.8% versus 50%; P=0.12; modified Rankin Scale, 81.8% versus 31.3%; P=0.02; Glasgow Outcome Scale, 90.9% versus 37.5%; P=0.01) with loss of statistical significance in a intent-to-treat analysis. Conclusions - Although our HBO protocol appears feasible and safe, it does not appear to be beneficial and may be harmful in patients with acute ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-574
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Brain infarction
  • Brain ischemia
  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Hyperbaric oxygenation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)

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