Objective: To evaluate the analgesic effects of hyperbaric CO(2) cryotherapy in elderly inpatients.
Methods: An open-label prospective study was conducted in two geriatrics departments in patients with a broad range of pain characteristics. Each patient underwent a physical evaluation followed by hyperbaric CO(2) cryotherapy sessions, whose spacing and number were at the discretion of the physiotherapist. Patients completed a 100-mm visual analog scale for pain severity before and after the sessions.
Results: We included 51 patients, who were treated between May 2 and June 30, 2005. Mean age was 83.7years, and the female-to-male ratio was 4/1. The patients had acute or chronic pain whose origin was usually musculoskeletal (80.3%) or neurological (18.6%). Pain scores decreased significantly after four sessions, from 52mm to 13mm (P<0.001) in patients with acute pain and from 45mm to 13mm (P<0.001) in those with chronic pain.
Conclusion: Hyperbaric CO(2) cryotherapy is an innovative tool that should be incorporated within the non-pharmacological armamentarium for achieving pain relief in older patients.