Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is being used as a treatment option for Lyme Disease
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has long been accepted as a primary treatment for decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning and air embolism and has been used for treatment of chronic, trauma-related wounds, chronic refractory osteomyelitis, gas gangrene, burn wounds, ischaemic flaps, transplanted limbs and cancer.
For purposes related to infections, HBOT augments medical management of selected infectious diseases, especially those caused by anaerobic bacteria. Such microorganisms are highly sus- ceptible to oxygen’s killing power or bacteriostatic activity that leads to the generation of toxic oxidants. Hyperoxia treatment also elevates oxygen tensions in infected tissues, which helps potenti- ate the activity of many antimicrobial drugs, as well as facilitate oxygen-dependent killing by host leukocytes.
One rationale for using HBOT as a possible treatment for Lyme disease would be based partially on its direct killing effects against B. burgdorferi – although it is not an anaerobe, this organism prefers to grow in an enviroment having low oxygen tension and thus could be susceptible to elevated levels of infused oxygen.
Its application, under these conditions, could be considered as being a somewhat novel approach, in that oxygen would be used as a non-antibiotic (or non-pharmaco- logical) ‘drug’ for a disease that is readily treatable with antibiotics and where antibiotic usage is generally considered to be less complicated and more economical to implement.