EUBS Webinar on COVID-19

March 10, 2021  1600-1900 CET

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The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the way we practice diving and how we apply hyperbaric oxygen therapy. One year after the start of the pandemic, it is time to examine the effects of SARS-CoV2 on our daily practice and how hyperbaric oxygen therapy may even help treat COVID-19 patients.

This EUBS Webinar provides a comprehensive overview of the most relevant developments in the last year!

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  • Introduction (Ole Hyldegaard, EUBS President)
  • HBO in COVID-19 times – How is it organized in European HBO centres ? (Benoît Desgraz and Rodrigue Pignel) (40 min)
  • Disinfection of hyperbaric chambers (Jacek Kot) (40 min)
  • Use of HBO for the treatment of COVID-19 (report on ongoing studies)
    – Canadian RCT (Sylvain Boet) (10 min)
    – Swedish RCT (Anders Kjellberg) (10 min)
    – French RCT (Jean-Eric Blatteau) (10 min)
  • Diving in COVID-19 times – How is the situation in Europe and what are the experiences ?
    – Off shore (commercial) diving (Phil Bryson) (10 min)
    – (French) Navy diving (Jean Morin) (10 min)
    – Recreational Diving (Alessandro Marroni and Laura Marroni) (10 min)
  • Discussion / questions (moderated by Jacek Kot / Gerardo Bosco)
  • Conclusion (Ole Hyldegaard)


Benoît Desgraz

Benoît Desgraz is a Swiss cardiologist and, since 2019, works part-time in the hyperbaric unit in Geneva (HUG). HIs main interests lie in cardiovascular adaptations to immersion and physiological response to hyperoxia.

Hyperbaric facilities are confined spaces where patients and staff share the same environment for hours which raises concerns over cross-contamination and viral spread. Guidelines for infection control and safety were published by medical societies (EUBS-ECHM, UHMS, ICHF). Recently, the impact of these recommendations on the practice of European, Canadian, north- and central-African hyperbaric centers was assessed through a standardized questionnaire. The large majority of the centers implemented additional safety procedures and adapted to new ways of working. Twenty-five percent of the hyperbaric centers had to close due to lack of staff, mainly due to assignment to other units or due to quarantine. Although HBO treatments continued during COVID-19 pandemic, self-reported assessment did not show significant cross-contamination (patient-to-patient or patient-to-staff) when COVID-19-specific procedures were implemented and respected. HBO facilities remain dependent on specialists and lack of staff might be the main issue during a pandemic.

Jacek Kot

Dr Jacek Kot is the Head of the National Center for Hyperbaric Medicine in Gdynia and Associate Professor at Medical University of Gdansk. Currently he serves as the President of the European Committee for Hyperbaric Medicine (ECHM). He is aspecialist of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care and ECHM Level 3 Expert in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. His main interest is using HBOT in Intensive Care. He participates in the RCT on using HBOT for COVID-19 patients conducted at the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland.

During his presentation, the general aspects of disinfection of the hyperbaric chamber with the special attention for cleaning the chamber after the COVID patient will be presented. Different approaches will be compared with each other. 

Sylvain Boet

Dr. Sylvain Boet is a staff anesthesiologist and hyperbaric physician at The Ottawa Hospital and an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is also Assistant Dean at the Faculty of Medicine, Ottawa. He completed his training in anesthesiology and intensive care in France in 2005, has extensive experience in pre-hospital emergency medicine, and holds a PhD of Education. Dr. Boet completed a simulation and medical education fellowship at the University of Toronto. His research encompasses two research programs, one in simulation and medical education and the other in hyperbaric medicine.

In his presentation, Dr. Boet will briefly review the pathophysiological rationale and current published clinical evidence that position hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as a promising option to treat hypoxemic COVID-19 patients. He will then present a protocol for a multicenter randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of HBOT on hypoxemic COVID-19 patients.

Anders Kjellberg

Dr. Anders Kjellberg is ICU consultant and head of the hyperbaric unit at Karolinska University Hospital. He is chairman of the Swedish and Scandinavian hyperbaric societies. He is also doctoral student in Peter Lindholm’s group Hyperbaric Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, studying biomarkers for dose/effect of hyperbaric oxygen.

Dr Kjellberg is the principal investigator for a randomized controlled clinical trial COVID-19-HBO evaluating Safety and Efficacy of Hyperbaric oxygen for ARDS in patients with COVID-19. He will present the protocol and preliminary results for this multicenter randomized controlled trial.

Jean-Eric Blatteau

Pr Jean-Eric Blatteau, head of department of diving and hyperbaric medicine at Ste Anne military hospital Toulon France, is the Past President of the French society of diving and hyperbaric medicine and current vice-president of EUBS

Pr Blatteau is the principal investigator for a randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating the management by hyperbaric oxygen therapy of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients with hypoxaemic pneumonia. The main objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of HBOT in addition to normal management over the period of normalization of the oxygen requirement (oxygen dependence) in patients with SAR-CoV2 pneumonia not requiring invasive or non-invasive ventilation. Pr Blatteau will briefly present the protocol and preliminary results for this monocentric randomized controlled trial.

Phil Bryson

Dr Phil Bryson is the Medical Director of Diving Services at International SOS where he has worked since 2010 to support the offshore diving industry. He previously worked at the Diving Diseases Research Centre (DDRC) in Plymouth for 25 years. He is an ECHM Level 3 Expert in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine and is both an EUBS and DMAC committee member.

During the presentation Dr Bryson will briefly outline the difficulties of continuing to dive commercially during the pandemic and some of the solutions that are being used.

Jean Morin

Dr Jean Morin is working at the department of diving and hyperbaric medicine at Ste Anne military hospital Toulon France, he is responsible for the medical control of French military divers.

Preventive measures have been proposed and applied to avoid the risks of contamination by SARS-CoV2 for military diving activities in France. To allow the resumption of diving activities after confirmed infection with SARS-COV2, a compulsory medical examination was introduced by the health service of the French army. Dr Morin will present the results of the medical evaluation in particular the changes observed after paraclinical assessments.

Alessandro Marroni – Laura Marroni

Alessandro Marroni (MD, MSc, FUHM, FECB) is the Founder and President of DAN Europe. Laura Marroni (B.Ec, MBA) is the Exec. Vice President of DAN Europe. DAN Europe is a not-for-profit Foundation, its mission is to assist and protect divers, and conduct scientific research to make diving a safer, more accessible, and sustainable activity for all.

In their presentation, they will give an overview about the impact of COVID-19 on the diving industry, with a specific focus on: the impact on dive operations’ management and risk prevention; the new medical declaration form approved by the WRSTC; DAN’s research protocol on diving after COVID-19; dive industry market trends.