Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis resistant to conventional treatments: long-term results of a case series in Japan

There is no confirmed strategy for treating painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis (PBS/IC) with unclear etiology. Therefore, a pilot study was carried out to evaluate the efficacy and safety of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy in treatment-resistant PBS/IC patients.

Methods: HBO treatment (2.0 ATA for 60 minutes/day x 5 days/week for 2 or 4 weeks) was performed on 11 patients with severe symptoms that had not been improved by previous therapy regimens between December 2004 and July 2009.

Results: Seven of the 11 patients demonstrated persistent improvement in symptoms during the 12 months after HBO treatment.

These responders demonstrated a decrease in the pelvic pain scale and urgency scale from 7.7+/-1.0 and, 6.6+/-0.9 to 3.4+/-2.5 and, 4.3+/-2.4 at 12 months, respectively (p<0.05). The total score of the interstitial cystitis symptom index and 24-hour urinary frequency demonstrated a significant sustained decrease from the baseline.

Two responders, who received an additional course of HBO 12 and 13 months after initial treatment, respectively, have not suffered impairment for over 2 years. There was one case of transient eustachian tube dysfunction and 3 cases of reversible exudative otitis media as a consequence of HBO treatment.

Conclusions: HBO is a potent treatment for PBS/IC patients resistant to conventional therapy.

It was well tolerated and provided maintained amelioration of pain, urgency, and urinary frequency for at least 12 months.

Published on: 2011-05-25

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