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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 153-157

Hyperoxia and the cardiovascular system: experiences with hyperbaric oxygen therapy

1 Research Group Experimental Surgery, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
2 Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University, Medical Faculty, Düsseldorf, Germany
3 Department of Anesthesiology, Johanna Etienne Hospital, Neuss, Germany
4 Department of Trauma and Hand Surgery, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Jochen D Schipke
Research Group Experimental Surgery, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2045-9912.337997

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Hyperoxia has been described to induce bradycardia by direct stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Also, hyperoxia has been found to increase blood pressure by an elevation of vascular resistance. However, the latter effect itself would induce bradycardia by baroreceptor stimulation. This single-arm monocentric retrospective study aims to evaluate the correlation between these effects by investigating the relation between oxygen (O2) administration and heart rate over time. Data were collected from 23 patients without cardiovascular problems undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (2.4 bar) retrospectively. During single oxygen bouts, transcutaneously measured partial pressure of O2 was increased. During this surge of oxygen pressure, the arterial blood pressure was increased while the heart rate was decreased. Respiration rate was maintained independently from breathing 100% O2 or air. During single oxygen bouts, the half-life of transcutaneously measured partial pressure of O2 was 5.4 ± 2.1 mmHg/s, and the half-life of heart rate was 0.45 ± 0.19 beats/min. It has been shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the transcutaneously measured partial pressure of O2. This increase was rather fast, followed by a rather slow decrease in HR. This finding does not support direct vagal activation. Heart rate is not decreased due to a direct vagal activation during hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Our single-arm, retrospective study has additionally confirmed that oxidative stress injures the endothelium, and the reduced endothelial-derived vasodilators cause vasoconstriction. As a consequence, blood pressure increases, and heart rate is then further decreased via the baroreceptor reflex.

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