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Use of hyperbaric oxygenation as an adjunctive treatment for severe pernicious anaemia in a bloodless medicine patient
  1. Kelly Johnson-Arbor1,2 and
  2. Richard Verstraete3
  1. 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, Washington, DC, USA
  3. 3Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Program, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kelly Johnson-Arbor; kkja{at}


Severe anaemia in patients who cannot receive blood transfusion is an indication for the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO). Most reports of the use of HBO for anaemia involve patients with acute blood loss. This report details a case of HBO used for a patient with severe pernicious anaemia. A 35-year-old Jehovah’s Witnesses believer presented to a hospital with fatigue, dyspnoea and haemoglobin of 26 g/L. She was diagnosed with pernicious anaemia. As she could not receive blood transfusion due to her religious beliefs, vitamin B12 supplementation and HBO were administered and resulted in significant improvement in her condition. The mechanisms of action of HBO, including increased systemic plasma oxygenation, can alleviate signs and symptoms of anaemia regardless of its aetiology. HBO administration can greatly enhance the plasma arterial oxygen content, leading to clinical improvement in patients with anaemia who cannot receive blood transfusion.

  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • nutrition and metabolism
  • stomach and duodenum
  • healthcare improvement and patient safety

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  • Contributors KJ-A: Drafted the manuscript. RV: Reviewed the manuscript. Both authors have approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer-reviewed.