Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) consists of using of pure oxygen at increased pressure (in general, 2-3 atmospheres) leading to augmented oxygen levels in the blood (Hyperoxemia) and tissue (Hyperoxia). The increased pressure and oxygen bioavailability might be related to a plethora of applications, particularly in hypoxic regions, also exerting antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and angiogenic properties, among others. In this review, we will discuss in detail the physiological relevance of oxygen and the therapeutical basis of HBOT, collecting current indications and underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, potential areas of research will also be examined, including inflammatory and systemic maladies, COVID-19 and cancer. Finally, the adverse effects and contraindications associated with this therapy and future directions of research will be considered. Overall, we encourage further research in this field to extend the possible uses of this procedure. The inclusion of HBOT in future clinical research could be an additional support in the clinical management of multiple pathologies.
Keywords: Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19); Hyperoxia; antimicrobial properties; hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT); wound healing.