Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and joint damage. Synovial hypoxia (low oxygen) is a specific feature of RA and plays an important role in the formation and progression of this disease.
“Hypoxia induces angiogenesis, inflammation, apoptosis, cartilage erosion, abnormal energy metabolism and oxidative damage” Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can reverse hypoxic conditions throughout the body and therefore can help effectively halt the pathogenesis of RA.
In this study, the animal model of RA was evaluated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy; whereby, male mice received a total of 10 daily hyperbaric sessions at 2.4 ATA (90 minutes of pure oxygen and two 5 minute air breaks). This group of mice that received HBOT had a significant reduction in the mouse model of arthritis, along with the reduction in disease-progressive inflammatory markers. After evaluating all the data collected from this study, the researchers concluded that a 10 day course of hyperbaric therapy in 12 days can be “an alternative therapy that is considered successful in reducing morbidity and mortality of RA patients” <view study>
In addition to the study above, a new pilot study published in the journal of Clinical Rheumatology on September 16, 2020 also found Hyperbaric oxygen therapy to be effective for joint pain in patients with RA <view this study>