Vancouver Stroke Study to use Hyperbaric Chamber

VGH seeking stroke survivors for North America’s first of its kind hyperbaric oxygen study

A multidisciplinary team at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) will be the first in North America to study the role that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could play in improving neurological function in recovering stroke patients. The group includes scientists Craig Mitton and Penny Brasher from C2E2 and associate scientist, Riyad Abu-Laban.

Dr. David Harrison, medical manager of the Hyperbaric Unit at VGH and a Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher, and the study’s lead investigator, says, “Since strokes are very complex, we will be measuring several primary and secondary outcomes in our study—including neurological function, daily living activities, quality of life scores, depression and cognition.”

Dr. Harrison and his team are actively recruiting 140 participants between the ages 19 and 85-years-old who have had a stroke involving the cerebral hemispheres during the past six to 36 months. Participants will receive a series of 40 treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at VGH.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves breathing 100 per cent oxygen at increased pressures inside an airtight, cylindrical steel chamber. This allows oxygen to be dissolved into the bloodstream and carried to the organs. Study participants will receive one of two treatments: each with a different environment pressure and oxygen level.

The study is being funded by a $1-million donation to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

“This study is an outstanding demonstration of how philanthropy can enable our health care partners' visions of innovative and transformative health care,” says Barbara Grantham, president and CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “As a result of a generous donor, Dr. Harrison’s research has the potential to improve the functionality and quality of life of post-stroke patients.”

Preliminary results of the study are expected in December 2018.

To learn more about this study, visit: Those interested may contact Janice Andrade at 604-875-4111 ext. 68469 or via