Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where There's Smoke, Where's The Chamber?

Firefighters and fire victims face really tough odds—a mortality rate of 29%—when they suffer both burns and smoke inhalation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has become a well-accepted and approved treatment for fire-related burns, thermal lung damage, and carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning.

One major study had to be stopped early because investigators and statisticians decided patients should not be denied the benefits of HBOT.

O2.0 did a quick review of the clinical evidence on hyperbaric oxygen for treating smoke inhalation injury and preventing neurologic complications. There's a disturbingly common theme. Access to HBOT for fire emergency victims has been slowed not by the clinical evidence, not by the health economics, but by the poor availability of facilities.

That's some catch, that catch-22.

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