Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Dec 1;33(1S Suppl 1):e564-e573. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000002164.


Background: Translational data suggest a potential role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in a subset of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis for the efficacy and safety of HBOT in IBD.

Methods: We searched Pubmed, Embase and CENTRAL to identify studies reporting the efficacy of HBOT in ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. We pooled the response rates for HBOT in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease separately.

Results: A total 18 studies were included in the systematic review and 16 in the analysis. The overall response rate of HBOT in ulcerative colitis was 83.24% (95% confidence interval: 61.90-93.82), while the response in Crohn's disease was 81.89 (76.72-86.11). The results of randomized trials for HBOT as adjuvant therapy in ulcerative colitis were conflicting. The complete healing of fistula in fistulizing Crohn's disease was noted 47.64% (22.05-74.54), while partial healing was noted in 34.29% (17.33-56.50%). Most of the adverse events were minor.

Conclusion: Observational studies suggest benefit of use of HBOT in ulcerative colitis flares and Crohn's disease. However, adequately powered randomized trials are needed to draw a definite conclusion.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / diagnosis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / etiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / therapy
  • Crohn Disease* / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease* / etiology
  • Crohn Disease* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy