Worldwide Reports

Hyperbaric Oxygen Reverses Organ Dysfunction in Severe Anemia

Greensmith JE | Anesthesiology |
No institution
Lancaster, PA, USA


This free article contains a case report of a 20-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with a history of dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The patient was transferred with an initial hemoglobin and hematocrit of 5.3 g/dl and 15% from a facility not equipped to treat patients without blood transfusion. By the time she reached Dr. Greensmith her hematocrit and hemoglobin had fallen to 3.5 g/dl and 10%. Urgent measures were taken to stop the bleeding and she was treated effectively by Dr. Greensmith with hyperbaric oxygen and other supportive therapy. She was discharged from the hospital on day 8. Eighteen days after admission, hemoglobin and hematocrit concentrations increased to 8.4 g/dl and 29.2%, respectively.

High oxygen content within the plasma that can supplement, or even supplant, the hemoglobin-bound oxygen can be achieved by use of hyperbaric oxygen administration. In 1960, Boerema et al.  1 exsanguinated pigs and then “reanimated” them by treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. Forty years later, hyperbaric therapy can be life saving when used as temporizing or definitive therapy in cases of severe anemia when transfusion is difficult to achieve or refused.

We offer free consulting services for administrators and physician leaders wishing to establish a bloodless medicine and surgery program.
Interested in starting a bloodless program?

Learn how you can implement a bloodless program in your institution.

Are you a patient?

Learn more about bloodless medicine and surgery.