As a form of treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cyanide poisoning involves subjecting patients to increased atmospheric pressure and 100% oxygen concentrations.
This pressure may be greater than or equivalent to 1.4 atmospheres, as reported by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) (atm).
However, all current UHMS-approved indications necessitate a pressurized chamber with a minimum of 2 ATA to ensure that the patient is exposed to nearly 100% oxygen.
In comparison to the traditional route of absorption for nutrients, which is the digestive system, oxygen (O2) is often overlooked.
O2 is key for human cells to perform so-called aerobic respiration, which takes place in the mitochondria.
Oxidative phosphorylation is the pathway via which oxygen (O2) is used as an electron acceptor to generate ATP.
Eukaryotic cells first appeared as a result of an endosymbiotic interaction between oxygen-using prokaryotic cells (archaea and eubacteria), and the intake of oxygen is considered the evolutionary origin of eukaryotes.
Because of this adaptive advantage over non-using cells, oxygen became a necessary nutrient for the development of complex creatures.
The simple introduction of oxygen into our bodies occurs via two distinct processes: ventilation, in which gases are brought from the environment to the bronchial tree, and diffusion, in which an equilibrium is reached in the distribution of O2 between the space in the alveoli and the blood.
Since there is a high concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a low partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), this area supports gas exchange.
Since air pressure does not change, oxygen flow is dependent on the difference in pressure and volume in the chest wall and lungs.
When O2 enters the circulatory system, it travels throughout the body largely linked to hemoglobin (Hb) in the erythrocytes and, to a lesser extent in a dissolved state.
Oxygen exchange is then generated between the microcirculatory vessels (not just capillaries but also arterioles and venules) and the rest of the tissues due to the different partial pressure of O2 and the Hb oxygen saturation (SO2), which is also dependent on other variables like temperature, PCO2, and pH, among others. However, hypoxia can manifest itself if there is not enough oxygen reaching the tissue.
This may be the result of a lack of oxygen in the blood (Hypoxemia), which may be the result of a problem with ventilation, perfusion, or gas diffusion across the haemato-alveolar barrier.
Tissue hypoxia may also result from inadequate blood flow (ischemia) or impaired oxygen delivery.
Because of this, cells have sensors called hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) that, when exposed to low levels of oxygen, bind to the hypoxia response element (HRE) and subsequently control a wide range of cellular functions.
It’s possible that hypoxia could have beneficial health effects on rare occasions, such as during the early stages of development or in the case of intermittent exposure.
However, hypoxia predominantly causes pathogenic stress in cells, which is intimately linked to the onset and development of a wide variety of disorders.
Therefore, oxygen has been suggested as a possible treatment agent for people experiencing various acute or chronic diseases.