By J. Scott Delaney, MD; D. L. Montgomery, PhD
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is used in a sports medicine setting to reduce hypoxia and edema and appears to be particularly effective for treating crush injuries and acute traumatic peripheral ischemias. When used clinically, HBO2 should be considered as an adjunctive therapy as soon as possible after injury diagnosis. Treatment pressures for acute traumatic peripheral ischemia range from 2.0 to 2.5 atmospheres absolute (ATA), with a minimum of 90 minutes for each treatment. Some professional and amateur athletes use HBO2 to aid endurance performance or to speed recovery from exercise-related fatigue; however, research does not yet support these uses. Clinicians and athletes should keep in mind that HBO2 is a medical treatment with associated risks.