What causes heart fluttering post hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Posted on Tue, 9 Jun 2015 in Pain Management
Question: I had a PICC line inserted almost 4 months ago for daily IV infusions. I recently started hyperbaric oxygen treatments and have experienced what I think is atrial fluttering as the pressure in the chamber is increased. The sensation is very uncomfortable and a little nauseating. What is the cause of this and should I continue with the hyperbaric oxygen treatments? I'm concerned the pressure in the chamber is causing the vein to close around the catheter allowing limited blood from entering the heart.
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
hyperbaric oxygen therapy may contribute to certain arrhythmias

Detailed Answer:


Thank you for asking on HCM!

Regarding your concern, I would like to explain that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may contribute to certain arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation and flutter. There are some case reports referring such a complication.

To avoid these complications from happening, it is very important to properly define the indications for such a therapy, to be cautious regarding the pressure level inside the hyperbaric chamber (to remain lower than three times of normal air pressure), and the procedure to be performed in a well known certified center. You can continue with this therapy (if indications for such a therapy are clearly defined), but it is highly recommended to be closely monitored around and during the procedure (ECG monitoring).

There are some situations, where hyperbaric therapy is not appropriate, such as taking certain chemotherapy drugs. I would like to know, what is the exact reason you are inserted a PICC line?

It doesn't seem that hyperbaric therapy would complicate your venous line patency, as far as this therapy is applied according to precise approved protocols. Nevertheless, it is quite easy to identify if such a problem is present. Just talk to your attending medical staff to make a trial on it.

Hope to have been helpful to you.

Feel free to ask me whenever you need. Greetings! Dr. Iliri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
Answered by
Dr. Ilir Sharka


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 7209 Questions


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