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Free Content Central Nervous System Oxygen Toxicity and Hyperbaric Oxygen Seizures

INTRODUCTION: The use of hyperbaric oxygen (O2) as a therapeutic agent carries with it the risk of central nervous system (CNS) O2 toxicity.

METHODS: To further the understanding of this risk and the nature of its molecular mechanism, a review was conducted on the literature from various fields.

RESULTS: Numerous physiological changes are produced by increased partial pressures of oxygen (Po2), which may ultimately result in CNS O2 toxicity. The human body has several equilibrated safeguards that minimize effects of reactive species on neural networks, believed to play a primary role in CNS O2 toxicity. Increased partial pressure of oxygen (Po2) appears to saturate protective enzymes and unfavorably shift protective reactions in the direction of neural network overstimulation. Certain regions of the CNS appear more susceptible than others to these effects. Failure to decrease the elevated Po2 can result in a tonic-clonic seizure and death. Randomized, controlled studies in human populations would require a multicenter trial over a long period of time with numerous endpoints used to identify O2 toxicity.

CONCLUSIONS: The mounting scientific evidence and apparent increase in the number of hyperbaric O2 treatments demonstrate a need for further study in the near future.

Manning EP. Central nervous system oxygen toxicity and hyperbaric oxygen seizures. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(5):477–486.

Keywords: CNS oxygen toxicity; hyperbaric oxygen seizures; hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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