The incidence of hypoglycemia during HBO<inf>2</inf> therapy: A retrospective review

Sarah L. Stevens, Anthony J. Narr, Paul L. Claus, Martha P. Millman, Lawrence W. Steinkraus, Raymond C. Shields, William G. Buchta, Robert Haddon, Zhen Wang, Mohammad H Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Hypoglycemia is concerning in patients with diabetes undergoing hyperbaric oxygen (HBO<inf>2</inf>) therapy. We aimed to estimate the incidence, risk factors and a pretreatment glucose threshold of HBO<inf>2</inf>-associated hypoglycemia. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated a patient cohort undergoing HBO<inf>2</inf> therapy. We calculated the area under the curve (AUC) and odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) adjusting for patients' age, gender, diabetes type, insulin use, body mass index, hemoglobin A1c and HBO<inf>2</inf> treatment time. Results: During 77 months, 3,136 HBO<inf>2</inf> sessions were performed on patients with diabetes. In-chamber glucose was higher than pre-HBO<inf>2</inf> glucose in 1,708/3,136 sessions (54%). The incidence of hypoglycemia (defined as ≤70 mg/dL) during or immediately after HBO<inf>2</inf> treatment was 1.5% (0.8-2.1%). Hypoglycemia that was symptomatic or severe was rare. A glucose value pre-HBO<inf>2</inf> of 150 mg/dL best predicted the risk of subsequent hypoglycemia (AUC 0.80; 95% CI, 0.75-0.86). Type 1 diabetes was independently associated with increased risk of hypoglycemia (OR 3.69; 95% CI, 1.67, 8.19) whereas insulin use was not. Conclusions: In patients with diabetes undergoing HBO<inf>2</inf>, severe hypoglycemia is rare and occurs more frequently in Type 1 diabetes. Pre-HBO<inf>2</inf> glucose values may be used to predict subsequent hypoglycemia and reduce the need for routine glucose monitoring during and after HBO<inf>2</inf>.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • Blood glucose
  • Cohort study
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperbaric oxygen
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Insulin level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • General Medicine


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