Translational Stroke Research

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 316–327 | Cite as

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Cerebral Vasospasm and Brain Injury Following Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

  • Robert P. Ostrowski
  • John H. ZhangEmail author


The impact of acute brain injury and delayed neurological deficits due to cerebral vasospasm (CVS) are major determinants of outcomes after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Although hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) had been used to treat patients with SAH, the supporting evidence and underlying mechanisms have not been systematically reviewed. In the present paper, the overview of studies of HBO for cerebral vasospasm is followed by a discussion of HBO molecular mechanisms involved in the protection against SAH-induced brain injury and even, as hypothesized, in attenuating vascular spasm alone. Faced with the paucity of information as to what degree HBO is capable of antagonizing vasospasm after SAH, the authors postulate that the major beneficial effects of HBO in SAH include a reduction of acute brain injury and combating brain damage caused by CVS. Consequently, authors reviewed the effects of HBO on SAH-induced hypoxic signaling and other mechanisms of neurovascular injury. Moreover, authors hypothesize that HBO administered after SAH may “precondition” the brain against the detrimental sequelae of vasospasm. In conclusion, the existing evidence speaks in favor of administering HBO in both acute and delayed phase after SAH; however, further studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and to establish the optimal regimen of treatment.


Intracranial aneurysm Subarachnoid hemorrhage Cerebral vasospasm Neurological deficits Hyperbaric oxygen Neuroprotection 



This study is partially supported by grants from National Institutes of Health: NS53407, NS43338, and HD43120 to J.H. Zhang.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest pertaining to the submitted work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyLoma Linda University Medical CenterLoma LindaUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryLoma Linda University Medical CenterLoma LindaUSA

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