Improved Quality of Life with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Patients with Persistent Pelvic Radiation-induced Toxicity

T. Safra, G. Gutman, G. Fishlev, V. Soyfer, N. Gall, J. B. Lessing, R. Almog, D. Matcievsky, D. Grisaru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: We report the results of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) used in the treatment of radiation-induced persistent side-effects after the irradiation of pelvic tumours. Materials and methods: Between January 2001 and December 2005, 13 women (median age 60.3 years) with radiation combined proctitis/cystitis (n = 6), longstanding vaginal ulcers and fistulas (n = 5) and longstanding skin injuries (n = 2) underwent HBOT in a multiplace chamber for a median of 27 sessions (range 16-40). The treatment schedule was HBOT 100% oxygen, at 2 absolute atmospheres, for 90 min, once a day. For radiation-induced toxicity grading we used the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) grading system, before and after HBOT. Results: Thirteen patients underwent an adequate number of HBOT sessions. The mean CTC grading score before HBOT was 3.3 ± 0.75, whereas the mean CTC grading score after HBOT was 0.3 ± 0.63. The scores showed a significant improvement after HBOT (P = 0.001; exact Wilcoxon signed-rank test). Rectal bleeding ceased in five of six patients with proctitis and dysuria resolved in six of seven cystitis patients. Macroscopic haematuria stopped in seven of seven patients. Scar complications resolved in two of two patients. None reported HBOT-associated side-effects. Conclusion: HBOT is apparently safe and effective in managing radiation-induced late side-effects, such as soft tissue necrosis (skin and vagina), cystitis, proctitis and fistulas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-287
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • pelvis
  • radiation
  • side-effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology


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