Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) consists of intermittently administering 100% oxygen at pressures greater than one atmosphere absolute (ATA) in a pressure vessel. This technology has been used to treat a variety of diseases and has been described as helping patients who have delayed healing or established non-union of bony fractures.
The aim of this review was to assess the evidence for the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) for the treatment of delayed bony healing and established non-union of bony fractures.
We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register (April 2008), the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2008), MEDLINE (OVID 1966 to April week 3, 2008), CINAHL (OVID 1982 to April week 3, 2008), EMBASE (OVID 1980 to week 17 2008), the locally developed Database of Randomised Controlled Trials in Hyperbaric Medicine (available at www.hboevidence.com) from inception to May 2008, and reference lists of articles.
We aimed to include all randomised controlled trials that compared the effect of HBOT with no HBOT (no treatment or sham).
Data collection and analysis
We planned independent data collection by two authors using standardised forms.
No trials met the inclusion criteria. We excluded one trial that compared HBOT with no treatment because no clinical outcomes were reported.
This systematic review failed to locate any relevant clinical evidence to support or refute the effectiveness of HBOT for the management of delayed union or established non-union of bony fractures. Good quality clinical trials are needed to define the role, if any, of HBOT in the treatment of these injuries.