Objectives The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in participants suffering from chronic neurological deficits due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) of all severities in the largest cohort evaluated so far with objective cognitive function tests and metabolic brain imaging.
Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted of 154 patients suffering from chronic neurocognitive damage due to TBI, who had undergone computerised cognitive evaluations pre-HBOT and post-HBOT treatment.
Results The average age was 42.7±14.6 years, and 58.4% were men. All patients had documented TBI 0.3–33 years (mean 4.6±5.8, median 2.75 years) prior to HBOT. HBOT was associated with significant improvement in all of the cognitive domains, with a mean change in global cognitive scores of 4.6±8.5 (p<0.00001). The most prominent improvements were in memory index and attention, with mean changes of 8.1±16.9 (p<0.00001) and 6.8±16.5 (p<0.0001), respectively. The most striking changes observed in brain single photon emission computed tomography images were in the anterior cingulate and the postcentral cortex, in the prefrontal areas and in the temporal areas.
Conclusions In the largest published cohort of patients suffering from chronic deficits post-TBI of all severities, HBOT was associated with significant cognitive improvements. The clinical improvements were well correlated with increased activity in the relevant brain areas.