Effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on depression and anxiety in the patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (a STROBE-compliant article)

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Abstract

Little research has been done on the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) on depression and anxiety after spinal cord injury (SCI). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of HBO on psychological problems and never function, especially on depression and anxiety in the patients with incomplete SCI (ISCI).

Sixty patients with ISCI combined with depression and anxiety were randomly divided into HBO group (20 cases), psychotherapy group (20 cases), and conventional rehabilitation control group (20 cases). All patients received routine rehabilitation therapy. However, in HBO group and psychotherapy group, patients also received HBO and psychotherapy, respectively. These therapies lasted for a total of 8 weeks (once a day and 6 days per week). Before and after 8 weeks of treatment, depression and anxiety, nerve function, and activities of daily living were, respectively, evaluated according to Hamilton Depression (HAMD) scale, Hamilton Anxiety (HAMA) scale, American Spinal Injury Association score, and functional independence measure score in all patients.

After 8 weeks of treatment, HAMD score was significantly lower in both HBO group and psychotherapy group than in control group (all P < .05), but there was no statistical difference in HAMD score between HBO group and psychotherapy group (P > .05). HAMA score was significantly lower in HBO group than in control group (P < .05), but there was no statistical difference in HAMA score between HBO group and psychotherapy group, and between psychotherapy group and control group (all P > .05). After 8 weeks of treatment, American Spinal Injury Association and functional independence measure scores were significantly higher in HBO group than in both psychological and control groups, and also higher in psychotherapy group than in control group (all P < .05).

The effects of HBO on depression and anxiety are similar to that of psychotherapy. HBO can significantly improve nerve function and activities of daily living in the patients with ISCI, which either psychotherapy or routine rehabilitation therapy can not substitute.

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