Stroke (Cerebral Vascular
Accident or CVA) is defined as a sudden onset of a neurological deficit such as a weakness or paralysis due to a disturbance
of the blood flow to the brain.
There are four types of
strokes which result in the cessation of, or reduction in, blood flow, oxygen and glucose, critical for brain function:
1. Ischemic: blood clot blocks an artery
infarction: obstruction to venous outflow from the brain
rupture of an aneurysm
Ischemic Attack (TIA): loss of function or sensation that lasts for less than 24 hours
Hyperbaric oxygenation (HBOT)
for acute stroke:
· Provides oxygen to brain tissues even in absence of blood flow
· Relieves initial and secondary brain swelling
· Improves metabolism of neurons
· Increases oxygen to viable cells surrounding the area of ischemia (damage)
· Provides the oxygen necessary to metabolize glucose which provides energy for all cells
· Helps maintain chemical reactions involved in production of brain neurotransmitters.
Hyperbaric oxygenation is
not a cure for chronic stroke, but is used as an adjunct therapy. Clinical outcomes are improved in the treatment of new strokes,
those 3 months old or less. However, improvements have been noted years after the CVA.
Patients/caregivers have reported:
· Reduction in spasticity (if treated within 3 months of initial episode, spasticity may not develop)
· Increased mental performance and awareness
· Increased stamina and strength
· Recovery of function to some degree
Physical therapy is recommended
Suggested treatment schedule:
One to two daily treatments, five days/week for a total of 30-40 treatments is the
usual base protocol, with booster sessions as needed. Individual responses vary.