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A pilot study evaluating knowledge of indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy

A pilot study was conducted in mid-Michigan to evaluate know-ledge of appropriate hyperbaric oxygen therapy referrals in “first contact” physicians who did not have additional hyperbaric training. 

The hypothesis for this study is that many first-contact physicians have little or no exposure to hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy and its indications. A survey was distributed regarding accepted indications combined with conditions not currently approved or contraindicated for HBO2. Answers were tallied for correct identification of approved indications, missed approved indications, and inappropriate identification of unapproved indications. 

Ninety surveys were distributed and 62 physicians of various specialties responded. There were notably high percentages of missed indications, as high as 93%. Many emergent/urgent indications were missed as well. The highest percentage of wrong indications was 32%. Very concerning is the 13% who chose refractory pneumothorax as a condition responsive to HBO2 therapy.

This study showed significant lack of familiarity of HBO2 treatment indications among physicians who did not have additional hyperbaric training. Inclusion of hyperbaric education during residencies may increase HBO2 referrals and improve outcomes for various disorders.

DOI: 10.22462/9.10.2017.3