Article Title

Effect of antiplatelet and/or anticoagulation medication on the risk of tympanic barotrauma in hyperbaric oxygen treatment patients, and development of a predictive model


Introduction: Middle ear barotrauma (MEBt) is a common side effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) and can result in pain, hearing loss, tinnitus and otorrhagia. The use of antiplatelet/anticoagulant drugs is thought to increase the risk and severity of MEBt during HBOT.

Methods: Single centre, retrospective observational cohort study of all patients treated with HBOT over a 4-year period (between 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2018) looking at the incidence of MEBt and the concurrent use of antiplatelet and/or anticoagulant drugs. MEBt was assessed by direct otoscopy of the tympanic membrane post-HBOT and scored using the modified Teed classification. Multivariate modelling assessed the relationship between antiplatelet and/or anticoagulation drug use, age, sex, and MEBt during HBOT.

Results: There was no evidence that antiplatelet and/or anticoagulation drugs increase the risk of tympanic barotrauma in HBOT patients. The prevalence of MEBt was higher in female patients than in males (χ2 P = 0.004), and increased with age (χ2 P = 0.048). No MEBt was recorded in patients undergoing recompression therapy for decompression sickness or cerebral arterial gas embolism.

Conclusions: In this retrospective single-centre study, antiplatelet and/or anticoagulation drugs did not affect the risk of MEBt, but both age and sex did, with greater prevalence of MEBt among older patients and females compared with younger patients and males. A predictive model, requiring further validation, may be helpful in assessing the likelihood of MEBt in patients undergoing HBOT.

Copyright: This article is the copyright of the authors who grant Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine a non-exclusive licence to publish the article in electronic and other forms.


middle ear, risk factors, haematology, women, age, data

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