In 1959 a study was published in the Journal of cardiovascular surgery by a researcher and surgeon Dr Ite Borema. The brief synopsis to this is that in an experiment, researchers replaced the blood in pigs with ringers lactate solution and plasma, thus removing almost all the haemoglobin. Certainly they removed enough to the point where haemoglobin concentration was well below that expected to sustain life. They did this under 3 atmospheres of pressure in a hyperbaric chamber. The long and short of this is that they piglets survived for 45 minutes in this state at which time they were re-infused with their own blood again and were decompressed with no ill effect.
This proves that under hyperbaric conditions blood plasma absorbs exponentially more oxygen that haemoglobin can carry alone. This is one the fundamental foundation facts of HBOT. The plasma does the oxygen carrying and can carry infinitely more oxygen than haemoglobin (red blood cells). The only limiting factor to how much oxygen can be carried is the pressure. The higher the pressure the more it can carry and vice versa. This is thanks to the description offered by Henry’s law, a gas law dating back to the early 19th century and described by English chemist William Henry.
The law states: The amount of dissolved gas in a liquid is proportional to its partial pressure above the liquid.
The original paper from Dr Borema can be downloaded from the files and resources page and is titled “Life Without Blood”. It is reproduced in it’s original form as it was first published in 1959.