Hyperbaric Oxygen in Severe Anemia

By William Aird

A patient presents to the ED with chronic symptomatic severe anemia (now with chest pain). His Hb is 2 g/dL. He is a Jehovah’s Witness and refuses transfusion. Is hyperbaric oxygen an option?

Turns out that hyperbaric oxygen is FDA approved for use in severe anemia.

Under normal circumstances the amount of dissolved O2 in plasma is negligible relative to the amount carried by Hb.

With a typical hyperbaric session (2.5 and 3.0 atm, lasting 45 to 300 min), the PaO2 can be increased to 2000 mmHg and this is actually enough to move the patient past the critical DO2 threshold so that O2 delivery > O2 consumption.


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