Use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in severe earthquake injuries

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2024 Mar;30(3):185-191. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2024.60979.


Background: Earthquakes are natural disasters that can often cause severe injuries and traumatic situations. These injuries can include crush injuries, fractures, tissue damage, and blood circulation problems. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has recently become a frequently used treatment modality for individuals suffering from severe injuries. HBOT is a form of treatment that involves administering pure oxygen to the patient under high pressure. This treatment aims to promote tissue healing by increasing cellular oxygenation. It is thought to have a positive effect on factors such as accelerating tissue healing, reducing inflammation, and controlling infection in severe post-earthquake injuries, particularly crush injuries. This study aimed to retrospectively evaluate the clinical effects, contributions to the healing process, and potential advantages of HBOT in 35 patients with severe injuries after the Kahramanmaraş earthquake that occurred on 06.02.2023 and to contribute to the development of emergency intervention strategies.

Methods: This study was carried out after ethics committee approval. In the study, the data of patients with a MESS Score between 7-14 who were admitted as earthquake victims and treated in the HBOT Unit due to severe earthquake-related injuries were obtained from records and retrospectively analyzed. Demographic information, general distribution of patient data, mean values, number of HBOT sessions, and functional outcomes were recorded.

Results: The gender distribution of the 35 patients who received HBOT was 31.4% male and 68.6% female. 45.7% of patients were aged 18 years or younger, and 54.3% were aged 19 years or older. The most common injuries in the treated patients were observed in the lower extremities. After HBOT, sensory recovery (54.3%) and functional recovery (51.4%) were achieved in the majority of patients. The minor amputation rate was 20.0% and the major amputation rate was 11.4% after HBOT.

Conclusion: This study evaluated the possible effects of HBOT on patients with severe earthquake injuries in Türkiye, and the results showed that HBOT may have a beneficial effect on critical factors such as sensory recovery, functional recovery, and amputation rates in this particular group of patients, and that this benefit may be more pronounced in those who started treatment early.

MeSH terms

  • Crush Injuries*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation* / adverse effects
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation* / methods
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wound Healing