Objective: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and postconcussion syndrome (PCS) are common among military combatants. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2 ) is a proposed treatment for these conditions, but it has not been rigorously studied. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of HBO2 by 3 months post compression at 2 commonly employed dosing levels to treat PCS; whether specific subgroups may have benefited; and if no overall effect was found, whether benefit is masked by other conditions.
Methods: This randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study was conducted at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida on 61 male Marines with a history of mTBI and PCS. Intervention consisted of 40 once daily 60-minute hyperbaric chamber compressions at 2.0 atmospheres absolute (ATA) at 1 of 3 randomly preassigned oxygen fractions, resulting in respective blinded groups with an oxygen-breathing exposure equivalent to (1) surface air (sham), (2) 100% oxygen at 1.5ATA, or (3) 100% oxygen at 2.0ATA. The main outcome measure was the Rivermead Post-Concussion Questionnaire-16 (RPQ-16) collected before compressions and at 2 later points.
Results: The interaction of time by intervention group was not significant for improvement on the RPQ-16. Nor was there evidence of efficacy on the RPQ-16 for any subgroup. No significant time by intervention interaction was found for any functional, cognitive, or psychomotor secondary outcome measure at an unadjusted 0.05 significance level.
Interpretation: Using a randomized control trial design and analysis including a sham, results showed no evidence of efficacy by 3 months post-compression to treat the symptomatic, cognitive, or behavioral sequelae of PCS after combat-related mTBI. ANN NEUROL 2014;75:277-286.