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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Long COVID-19 Patients


For most people who contracted COVID-19, there are long-term consequences of the disease that they have to deal with even after recovery. They could range from mild to severe; this varies case by case. The post-COVID symptoms affect the quality of life hence the need for most patients to address them. Patients who have developed long COVID approximately half a year after initial recovery report to have experienced a couple of symptoms: extreme fatigue, chest pains, skin rashes, drowsiness, insomnia malaise and difficulty in taking full breaths. The latter is majorly caused by reduced lung efficiency and capacity since COVID-19 takes a direct hit on their lungs. Some patients also experience irregular heartbeats. If left unchecked, the latter could lead to various cardiovascular disorders.

HBOT has the effect of improving the quality of life as it aids in getting rid of excessive exhaustion, and nervousness. It also improves the quality of rest. It also aids in getting rid of persistent headaches, and difficulty in breathing. One can go about their normal duties without suffering shortness of breath. HBOT also aids in lowering metabolic acidosis as it reduces the concentration of anion and lactose in the bloodstream. It aids in bringing about homeostasis by enabling a perfect balance between acids and bases. HBOT also has the effect of boosting cardiac function by ensuring proper contraction and relaxation of cardiac muscles.

For COVID-19 pneumonia patients, the low-risk and non-invasive procedure has proven to be more effective compared to traditional forms of oxygen therapy. In getting rid of breathing difficulties, hyperbaric oxygen therapy aids in the rapid dissolution of oxygen in the alveolar as well as the inflammatory barrier. This increases the concentration of oxyhaemoglobin in the red blood cells. The patients experience faster recovery as well as increased oxygen diffusion rates. The latter also translates to higher tissue perfusion exchange capabilities and refined lung structural clearances. The lungs are spared from further trauma, inflammation and thickening. Long COVID-19 patients also experience improved liver function, better blood coagulation framework and enhanced immunity.

Overall, COVID-19 patients benefit from reduced viral load and progression and rescission of symptoms. The nitric oxide contained in hyperbaric oxygen alters the structural composition of the virus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus is suppressed therefore it is not able to replicate or bind with the receptor in context. This is also aggravated by the anti-inflammatory properties introduced by HBOT. At the end of the day, patients of long COVID-19 are left in a better place where they do not have to visit a health centre or subscribe to intensive care (ICU). Also, the patients do not have to encounter mechanical ventilation since the condition is kept at bay. The improved quality that is linked to continued use of HBOT upon recovery from initial COVID-19 symptoms: improved concentration, cognition, memory, comprehension of information and motor skills.

References

Kjellberg, A., Hassler, A., Boström, E., El Gharbi, S., Al-Ezerjawi, S., Kowalski, J., Rodriguez-Wallberg, K. A., Bruchfeld, J., Ståhlberg, M., Nygren-Bonnier, M., Runold, M., & Lindholm, P. (2023). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for long COVID (hot-loco), an interim safety report from a randomised controlled trial. BMC Infectious Diseases, 23(1), 62–69. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-023-08002-8

Oliaei, S., SeyedAlinaghi, S., Mehrtak, M., Karimi, A., Noori, T., Mirzapour, P., Shojaei, A., MohsseniPour, M., Mirghaderi, S. P., Alilou, S., Shobeiri, P., Azadi Cheshmekabodi, H., Mehraeen, E., & Dadras, O. (2021). The effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19): A systematic review. European Journal of Medical Research, 26(1), 41–48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40001-021-00570-2

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