Oxygen for cluster headaches through a demand valve

Oxygen inhalation is a proven method of treating cluster headaches. The patient usually rents a large oxygen tank and breathes in pure oxygen through a mask whenever he gets an attack (it is usually a he since 5 times as many men suffer from cluster headaches as women). Demand valve oxygen (DVO) is a promising new oxygen delivery system for the acute treatment of cluster headaches, according to a recent report by Dr. Todd Rozen.

DVO delivers oxygen to the user as soon as they inhale from an attached mask and the amount of oxygen is controlled by how fast they are breathing. DVO is capable of delivering much more oxygen than by just breathing it through a regular mask. In the study 3 patients tried both DVO and a regular mask. All patients had chronic cluster headaches. On DVO all 3 subjects became pain free; 2 of 3 became pain free on a regular mask, while the third subject needed 30 minutes to get to mild pain. Patients using DVO became pain free faster than when a regular mask was used. This was a very small sample and bigger studies are needed, but DVO appears to be at least as effective for acute treatment for cluster headaches as inhalation of oxygen through a regular mask.

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