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Relax Your Heart

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Heart with Oxygen

More than 1.4 million Canadians are living with heart disease.  It is the second leading cause of death in the country.  To make matters worse, nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

The numbers seem bleak, but the truth is 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented by adopting healthy behaviours.  Recent research studies on preconditioning have thrust hyperbaric oxygen therapy to the forefront of preventive intervention for the heart.

Preconditioning with hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces cardioprotection and decreases the likelihood of significant morbidity and mortality from a heart attack by limiting the size of dead tissue (also known as infarct).

Hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning involves “exposure to hyperbaric oxygen before a crucial event, with the plan to create a preventing therapeutic situation”.  Preoxygenation before recreational or work-related dives has long been known to reduce decompression times as well as post-dive nitrogen bubble loads.  Over the last decade, numerous clinical studies have shown the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning prior to exposure to a clinical event.  Most notable protective effects from oxygen exposure are related to the heart and the brain.

Heart preconditioning with hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces cardioprotection and decreases the likelihood of significant morbidity and mortality from a heart attack by limiting the size of dead tissue (also known as infarct).  Moreover, it limits injury from oxidative stress during reperfusion by stimulating the body’s natural antioxidant defense system.  Both mechanisms contribute to the preservation of cardiac function after a heart attack.  When used in combination with stem cell therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy enhances stem cell uptake in the infarct area and enhances functional recovery of the heart.  For those undergoing bypass surgery, preconditioning with hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces endogenous protective mechanisms on the brain and the heart, improves myocardial function after surgery, shortens length of ICU stay, limits postoperative complications, and reduces cognitive dysfunction.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces the risk of dying from acute coronary syndrome by nearly 50%.

The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy also extend to people suffering from acute coronary syndrome (unstable angina/chest pain or acute myocardial infarction/heart attack). Studies show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces the risk of dying from acute coronary syndrome by nearly 50%.  If administered after thrombolytic therapy during a heart attack, hyperbaric oxygen therapy leads to faster chest pain resolution and favorably affects the heart’s remodeling process, manifesting as improved ejection fraction.  When used after angioplasty, hyperbaric oxygen therapy inhibits restenosis, thereby reducing the need for a repeat angioplasty or bypass surgery and lowering the incidence of a subsequent heart attack and death.

Prior to heart surgery, preconditioning with hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces endogenous protective mechanisms on the brain and the heart, improves myocardial function after surgery, shortens length of ICU stay, limits postoperative complications, and reduces cognitive dysfunction.

Diastolic dysfunction (an abnormality in the relaxation of the heart resulting in incomplete filling) is common among diabetics and ultimately leads to heart failure.  Repetitive application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the relaxation capability of the heart among those with diabetes. 

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, with its many health benefits, can be a valuable resource towards achieving a healthy heart.  Take charge of your health and book your hyperbaric appointment today!

Further reading:
  1. Sun,Q, Sun, Q, Li,Y, Sun,X, Tao, H, 2011.Anti-apoptotic effect of hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning on a rat model of myocardial infarction, J Surg Res,2011, Nov;171(1)
  2. Jeysen,CY, Gerard L, Levant,G, Cowen,M, Cale,A, Griffin,S. 2011. Research report: the effects of hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning on myocardial biomarkers of cardioprotection in patients having coronary artery bypass graft surgery.Undersea Hyperbaric. 2011,May-June 38(3).
  3. Khan,M, Meduro,S, Pandian,RP, Rivera,BK, Kappusamy,P. 2011.Effect of oxygenation on stem-cell therapy for myocardial infarction.Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011,701 175-81.
  4. Khan,M, Kwiatkowski,P, Rivera,BK, Kappusamy,P. 2010.Oxygen and oxygenation in stem-cell therapy for myocardial infarction.Life Sci, 2010,Aug 28,87 (9-10).
  5. Yogaratnam,JZ, Laden,G, Guvendik,L, Cowen,M ,Cale,A, Griffin,S, 2010.Hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning improves myocardial function, reduces length of intensive care stay, and limits complications post coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Cardiovasc Med,2010,Jan-Mar,(11-1), 8-19
  6. Bennett MH, Lehm JP, Jepson L, 2015.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for acute coronary syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015.Jul 23;7
  7. Yin X, Wang X, Fang C, Peng C, Ren Z, Huang L, Liu Z, Zhao K. Hyperbaric Oxygen Preconditioning Attenuates Myocardium Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury Through Upregulation of Heme Oxygenase 1 Expression: PI3K/Akt/Nrf2 Pathway Involved. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther.2015. July 20(4);428-38
  8. Hang C, Lin L, Zhang W, Zhang L, Lv S, Sun Q, Tao H, Zhang JH, Sun X. 2008.Hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning alleviates myocardial ischemic injury in rats.Exp Biol Med.2008 Nov; 233(11):1448-53
  9. Aparci M, Kardesoglu E, Suleymanoglu S, Uzun G, Onem Y, Uz O, Kucukardeli Y, Ozkan S. 2008.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves myocardial diastolic function in diabetic patients. Tohoku J Exp Med.2008 Mar;214(3):281-9
  10. Alex J, Laden G, Cale AR, Bennett S, Flowers K, Madden L, Gardener E, McCollum PT, Griffin SC. 2005.Pretreatment with hyperbaric oxygen and its effect on neuropsychometric dysfunction and systemic inflammatory response after cardiopulmonary bypass: a prospective randomized double-blind trial.J Thorasc Cardiovas Surg. 2005 Dec;130(6);623-30
  11. Dekleva M, Neskovic A, Vlahovic A, Putnikovic B, Beleslin B, Ostojic M.2004. Adjunctive effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment after thrombolysis on left ventricular function in patients with acute myocardial infarction.Am Heart. 2004 Oct;148(4):E14
  12. Li Y, Dong H, Chen M, Liu J, Yang L, Chen S, Xiong L. 2011.Preconditioning with repeated hyperbaric oxygen induces myocardial and cerebral protection in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery: a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial.J Cardiothorac Vasc Anes. 2011 Dec;25(6);908-16
  13. Camporesi EM, Bosco G. 2014.Hyperbaric oxygen pretreatment and preconditioning. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2014 May-June; 49(3):251-63
  14. Stavitsky Y, Shandling AH, Ellestad MH, Hart GB, Van Natta B, Messenger JC, Strauss M, Dekleva MN, Alexander JM, Matthice M, Clarke D.1998. Hyperbaric oxygen and thrombolysis in myocardial infarction: the 'HOT MI' randomized multicenter study.Cardiology. 1998 Oct 90(2):131-6
  15. Sharifi M, Fares W, Abdel-Karim I,Koch JM, Sopko J, Adler D.Usefulness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to inhibit restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention for acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris.Am J Cardiol.2004 Jun 15;93(12);1533-5 

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 Information contained on this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. It should not be used as a substitute for any medical professional opinion, advice or prescribed medication nor should it serve as diagnosis or treatment of health problems.