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Hyperbaric Oxygen in Fracture Healing

Three Part Question

In [patients with uncomplicated long bone fractures] does [the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment rather than standard treatment +/- physiotherapy] cause [healing to be faster or more stable]

Clinical Scenario

You are in a pub chatting with a friend about football. He asks you whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy is any use in the treatment of broken bones, as a striker for his team has a fractured tib/fib and is apparently spending time in a hyperbaric chamber to improve his healing. Admitting you don't know you, you tell him you can find out and dash off to check the evidence behind it (you finish your pint first)

Search Strategy

Medline 1966- 4/6/04 using the OVID interface
[{ OR OR broke$.af} AND {} AND {oxygen$.af}] limit to Human and English Language

Search Outcome

36 papers were found none of which answered the three part question


There is no work suggesting an improvement in uncomplicated injuries. However it appears that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be of use in infected compound fractures and osteonecrosis.

Clinical Bottom Line

There is no evidence to support or refute the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of long bone fractures.