Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Long-Haul COVID
HBOT improves lingering symptoms of COVID-19 by reducing inflammation.
About the Treatment
SARS-CoV-2 can attack the body in a variety of ways and cause long term damage to lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system and other organs. The acute phase lasts a few days to a few weeks but reports from doctors around the country state that only a small percentage of patients with COVID 19 are completely free of symptoms more than 12 weeks after the initial infection. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 30% of the 5.5 million patients hospitalized with COVID-19 since August 2020 are suffering from long COVID syndrome, also known as long-haul COVID or post COVID conditions. That means over 1.6 million people suffer a range of lingering symptoms including lung scar tissue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, kidney damage, distorted taste and smell, cognitive issues, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.
According to clinical trial NCTO4647656, which is being conducted to study the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on post COVID 19 symptoms, the main symptoms being reported are cognitive impairment, fatigue and sleep disorders. It states that there are biological indicators that play roles in the post COVID 19 syndrome such as:
- Hypercoagulability that accompanies acute infection;
- Uncontrolled inflammatory response, called a cytokines storm (leading to neuroinflammation);
- Oxygen debt (when certain parts of the body “steal the oxygen to heal” leaving other parts deprived of oxygen).
Long-haul COVID is not just limited to those who were severely ill. Even patients who experienced mild to medium COVID symptoms (which, according to Brown University’s School of Public Health, includes as many as 30 million Americans) are suffering from symptoms of long-haul COVID.
A Simple Process
The process to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an adjunctive treatment for post COVID recovery is simple.
You must obtain a prescription for hyperbaric since 100% oxygen under pressure is considered a drug. You can call 757-452-3934 to schedule an appointment with a doctor here, if your doctor is not yet familiar with hyperbaric protocols. The doctor may want to test for:
- Inflammatory markers – using ESR and CRP blood tests
- Blood clotting markers – using D-Dimer blood tests
- Heart and pulmonary functions – using echocardiograms and/ or pulmonary function test
Once you have had your consult and testing, are medically cleared and have a prescription (all of which can happen fairly quickly), you can select the type of chamber you want to use. We have a mono-place chamber and a multi-place chamber.
Next, decide which payment option works best for you (insurance does not cover HBOT for COVID 19 or post-COVID 19) and schedule your treatment. We have five dive times per day from which to choose.
Lastly, when your treatment protocol comes to a close, we will help ensure post treatment tests (listed above) and conduct a final consultation to review your progress.
What is Long-Haul COVID?
The World Health Organization defines long-haul COVID as occurring “in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by any other diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others and generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist from the initial illness, which fluctuate or relapse over time.”
Cognitive impairments may linger after acute coronavirus infection. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, some people are left with lingering physical weakness, inability to take a deep breath, depression, anxiety and report changes in the way they think, speak, remember and concentrate. These lingering symptoms can be complicated by long periods of isolation, job loss, financial difficulties or grief from the death of loved ones.
Recovery with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Doctors and clinics around the globe are starting to look at hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as a way to combat post COVID-19 syndrome due to its proven anti-inflammatory effects. A pilot study is currently being conducted to study pulmonary fibrosis and other sequelae in patients who have had COVID-19 with lingering symptoms past 12 weeks of recovery from the acute phase.
HBOT has been shown to work at the mitochondrial level to “kick start” the healing process by:
- Creating new blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis)
- Stimulating new capillary growth
- Improving neuroplasticity
- Increasing stem cell mobilization by 800%
- Reducing inflammation and lactic acid
- Increasing white blood cell production
- Enhancing the ability for white blood cells to carry away “bad” bacteria and debris (Leukocyte activity)
- Reducing swelling
- Reducing edema
- Increasing the production of collagen
Patients with lingering symptoms of COVID who have failed traditional medical therapies such as inhalers, steroids and supplements are finding symptom improvement with HBOT. They report being able to breathe easier, improved physical strength, more energy and better mental focus. Tessa had been suffering from symptoms of long-haul covid for more than a year. She had been prescribed inhalers and steroids and tried different supplements for her shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and insomnia but wasn’t getting better. Her doctor had little left to try and finally suggested she try hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Tessa said after 15 treatments, “I’ve had the best days I’ve had in months,” remarking shortness of breath is better as well as improved energy levels and sleep quality.
Tier I Therapy Centers have been successful in treating patients experiencing lingering symptoms of long-haul COVID such as cognitive impairment, chronic fatigue, chronic inflammation, and/or trouble breathing, using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Call us today for a consultation to see if HBOT is right for you!
Tessa’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjmmD-JaY_o
May’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRytg5tJ4Iw