Does Oxygen Therapy Benefit Long Covid Patients?

A recent study has found that close to half of long Covid patients have impaired cardiac function even three months after contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To address this issue, researchers in Israel offered hyperbaric oxygen therapy to 60 long Covid patients in a randomized trial. Through this therapy, the patients were exposed to a pressurized environment and 100% pure oxygen to promote the rejuvenation of tissues with sufficient oxygen supply. The study found that out of the 29 patients who had impaired heart function, 16 underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy and experienced an improvement in their heart function. Each patient received 40 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy spread over eight weeks. After therapy, their left ventricular global longitudinal strain levels, which were previously 17.8%, shot up to -20.2 percent. The findings suggest that hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes recovery of cardiac function in patients with post-COVID syndrome. The researchers suggest that more studies are needed to determine which long Covid patients will benefit the most from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but it may be that all long Covid patients should have an assessment of global longitudinal strain and be offered the therapy if heart function is reduced. The study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s 2023 conference called EACVI Congress in Barcelona on May 12.


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