Late radiation cystitis is a serious affliction that is known to affect 5% to 15% of patients undergoing radiotherapy in the pelvic region for conditions such as rectal, prostrate or gynecologic cancer. The symptoms of this progressive disorder are known to surface a few years post the radiotherapy. Patients with late radiation cystitis often experience two common conditions known as:
- Hematuria – A constant urge to urinate or pass bowels.
- Dysuria – Restricted bowel movement.
Medical professionals do believe that commencing adequate treatment methods such as hyperbaric chamber therapy at an early stage can provide patients with requisite relief from this disorder.
How Can Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment Combat Late Radiation Cystitis?
A detailed study known as the Rich-Art trial was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden to observe the benefits of hyperbaric chamber therapy whilst treating patients with symptoms of late radiation cystitis.
Nicklas Oscarsson, a doctoral student in the anesthesiology and intensive care department at the university, spearheaded the research project. The team randomly selected 79 cancer patients who had undergone curative-intent radiotherapy of the pelvic region to treat their medical condition, six months before their selection.
Amongst the selected group, patients were ailing from different forms of cancer such as prostate, rectal, uterine and cervical cancer.
Thereon, the researchers commenced their study by administering hyperbaric chamber treatment to these patients through daily sessions that lasted between 80-90 minutes respectively. Each patient is known to have undergone 30–40 hyperbaric therapy sessions during the study period.
The research team conducted an overview of the progress of the enrolled individuals after 6 months and the observations recorded by them revealed a vast improvement in the patients’ health condition. The urinary and bowel functions of the patients had significantly improved post the hyperbaric chamber treatment. Most of the patients that were involved in the study group had developed a positive outlook and were looking forward to leading a healthy life.
“This treatment is highly effective for the majority of patients, It’s a great pleasure to hear patients tell us how they feel when they are returning to a normal human life,” said Oscarsson in a press release.
What Is Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment?
Pure oxygen has been used as a natural wound healer by physicians for several centuries and hyperbaric chamber treatment relies on the use of unadulterated oxygen to provide relief to patients ailing from a range of disorders. This treatment is also commonly known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
In the early 1960s, medical professionals used this alternative therapy to treat deep-sea divers of the U.S Navy for decompression sickness.
Over time, hyperbaric chamber treatment has been used to provide relief to patients with varied ailments such as:
- Radiation injury.
- Gas embolism.
- Non-healing diabetic wounds.
- Thermal injury.
- Toxic poisoning.
- Autism spectrum disorder.
- Traumatic brain injury.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Necrotizing infections.
- Acute anemia.
- Compromised skin flaps.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
Apart from these above-mentioned afflictions, hyperbaric experts are constantly involved in conducting trials to discover the viability of using hyperbaric chamber treatment for cancer relief.
How Is Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment Administered To Patients With Late Radiation Cystitis?
During a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session, the patient is placed in a pressurized compartment known as a hyperbaric chamber.
Thereafter, the staff at the clinic administer 100% pure oxygen to the patient through a facial mask or tube at pressure levels that are 1.2 to 3 times higher than normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. The enhanced pressure enables the pure oxygen to instantly dissolve into the body fluids of the individual and boosts the oxygen-rich plasma to the pelvic region of the body that is affected by the radiotherapy procedure.
Research studies have indicated that HBOT activates fresh tissue regeneration in the dormant or damaged areas of the pelvic region. The acceleration of new blood cell growth in the affected area is known to enhance the healing process in patients with late radiation cystitis.
Listed herewith are a few hyperbaric chamber options that patients can opt for:
Patients with late radiation cystitis can opt for hyperbaric chamber treatment through three types of chambers, namely:
- Monoplace Hyperbaric Chamber:
A monoplace hyperbaric chamber can be used to administer treatment to a single user at a time and is specifically designed for a small space like a clinic. The chamber is equipped with a clear glass window that can be used by the staff to monitor the entire procedure. This chamber can be installed at home if the patient with late radiation cystitis requires hyperbaric chamber treatment for a prolonged duration.
- Multiplace Hyperbaric Chamber:
This chamber can accommodate multiple patients during a single hyperbaric therapy session and is typically installed in large medical facilities.
- Portable Hyperbaric Chamber:
A portable hyperbaric chamber is constructed from canvas or urethane and is lightweight. This chamber can be transported to any location with ease and is best suited for patients who wish to undertake HBOT in the privacy of their home or locale of their choice. These chambers are economical if the patients require long-term treatment for late radiation cystitis.
The pioneering study conducted by Oscarsson and his team finds hyperbaric chamber treatment successful for patients with late radiation cystitis and provides them with a renewed sense of hope to lead a normal, healthy life in their future years.