It is estimated that currently around 1 in 10 Covid patients and up to 8 in 10 for those who have had severe Covid will develop long Covid symptoms.
Characteristics of the long Covid
We speak of long Covid when the symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks after the acute infection. They can last for months. Vaccination does not cause long Covid. The symptoms are mainly pronounced fatigue and abnormal shortness of breath. There are also headaches, loss of smell or taste, and trouble thinking.
There is no effective treatment yet. Several antivirals have been tested without results. We are also moving towards physiotherapy treatments, coaching to support these patients.
Clinical studies on HBOT
- 2021: 10 patients received 10 consecutive sessions of HBO at 2.4 ATA. Fatigue as well as many intellectual faculties have improved significantly.
- 2022: 60 sessions considerably improved the symptoms of a patient and this improvement was confirmed in the examination of the cerebral function.
- 2022: 30 patients recruited to assess HBO. Improvement in quality of life after 10 sessions increasing further after 15 sessions.
- 2022: 6 patients were treated 24 to 58 times depending on whether they were completely cured or had reached a plateau. 5 patients felt they had improved to the state before they had Covid and one improved greatly.
- 2022: in this controlled study, 73 patients received either HBO or a placebo. HBOT patients significantly improved their symptoms while placebo patients did not improve. These results show that HBOT can improve brain function which translates into improved symptoms of long Covid.
- 2023: In an ongoing placebo-controlled study in severe long Covid patients, an extremely high amount of side effects due to HBOT was noticed. It was an increase in cough accompanied by chest pain. These harmless effects lasted for a few days. They were deemed safe and the study was allowed to continue.
- 2023: HBOT promotes left ventricular systolic function recovery in patients suffering from post-COVID-19 condition.
- 2023: HBOT improves strength, energy, emotional stability, and socialization in 59 patients with confirmed long-term covid.
- 2023: It is believed that HBOT is an effective option for patients with long COVID, which is worth actively promoting.
- 2023: HBOT leads to improvement in symptoms of Long Covid through reduced ROS production, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, NO metabolites and inflammatory biomarker levels.
- 2024: HBOT improves the quality of life, sleep quality, and psychiatric and pain symptoms of patients with long COVID for at least one year.
Practical use of HBOT
There is insufficient data to make recommendations on the optimal number of HBO sessions.