Middle ear barotrauma in hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Marvin Heyboer, Susan M. Wojcik, William D. Grant, Patrick Chambers, Shane Jennings, Patrick Adcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Introduction: Middle ear barotrauma (MEB) is a common complication of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine the overall incidence of MEB and evaluate for differences in the incidence of MEB at different rates of compression (ROC). The study also sought to identify other potential risk factors for MEB. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on patients undergoing HBO2 at an academic regional level 1 trauma center. The MEB overall incidence as well as incidence at different ROC were determined. Results: 236 patients representing 4,981 treatments were analyzed. The overall incidence of MEB was 43.2%. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of MEB at different ROC. There was a statistically significant higher incidence of TEED 4 MEB in intubated patients (p<0.0001). The vast majority of MEB was minor when considering severity based on overall lower TEED scores of 1 or 2 (84%). Discussion: The overall incidence of MEB in this study is consistent with those previously reported. It is important to note that a vast majority of MEB was minor. This supports HBO2 as a safe treatment modality with minimal overall risk. The current study supports standardization of most treatment protocols to a ROC of 2 psi/minute.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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