The role of hyperbaric oxygen in the management of subarachnoid hemorrhage



To determine the role of hyperoxic and hyperbaric therapy following experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).


Prospective, randomized, controlled animal study.


Thirty male Wistar rats.


Thirty rats were assessed for an initial neurologic status as double-blinded by two different neurosurgeons using a neurologic severity score (NSS) and then underwent an initial angiographic examination. Two days later, 0.3 ml of homologous blood was injected into the cisterna magna to produce a SAH-induced cerebral vasospasm. The NSS and angiographic examination were then repeated. The rats having no spasm or a spasm under 50% (n=8) and 50% or over 50% (n=22) were grouped separately, as groups 1 and 2, respectively. The rats having 50% or more spasm were further divided randomly into group 2A and 2B. The rats in groups 1 and 2A (n=11) underwent a 60-min course of 100% oxygen at the atmospheric pressure 1 atmosphere absolute (ata), and group 2B (n=11) received 100% oxygen at 3 ata for 1 h. Neurologic assessment was repeated on the next day and 7 days later.

Measurements and main results

The animals having no spasm or less than 50% spasm had a better NSS and outcome when compared with the animals having 50% or more spasm. But the animals with 50% or more spasm which underwent hyperbaric therapy were shown to have a better outcome compared to the animals having hyperoxic therapy.


Exposure to hyperbaric oxygen therapy seemed to accelerate the recovery of neurologic deficits secondary to experimental SAH.

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Correspondence to Yalçin Kocaoğullar.

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Kocaoğullar, Y., Üstün, M.E., Avci, E. et al. The role of hyperbaric oxygen in the management of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Intensive Care Med 30, 141–146 (2004).

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  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Hyperbaric oxygen
  • Vasospasm
  • Rat
  • Angiography