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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Adults with Mental Illness: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: August 27, 2014
Project Number: RC0577-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Report in Brief

Context
Mental illness affects approximately one in three Canadians at some point in their lives. For patients experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or depression, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proposed as a potential treatment option.

Technology
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes pure oxygen while in a chamber that has been pressurized to a higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood and tissues, thereby promoting healing. It has been suggested that the procedure might also be useful in treating mental illness by reactivating the brain's metabolic or electrical pathways.

Issue
A review of the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or depression will help to guide decisions about its use in these patients.

Methods
A limited literature search was conducted of key resources, and titles and abstracts of the retrieved publications were reviewed. Full-text publications were evaluated for final article selection according to predetermined selection criteria (population, intervention, comparator, outcomes, and study designs).

Results
The literature search identified 267 citations, with no additional studies identified from other sources. Of the identified studies, 7 were deemed potentially relevant and none met the criteria for inclusion in this review.

Key Messages
No evidence was found on the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or depression.

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of adults with post-traumatic stress disorder?
  2. What is the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of adults with generalized anxiety disorder?
  3. What is the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of adults with depression?

Key Message

No relevant literature regarding the clinical effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or depression was identified.