Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia (SWBH)

Malignant cells and cancerous tissue are more sensitive to heat than healthy tissue and under certain conditions, they can be selectively destroyed by heat.

How does Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia work?

Before any patient is accepted for SWBH, stringent physical examination controls are carried out, among which ECG, pulmonary function test, blood coagulation, blood count, blood gases, etc. It is carried out in a specially developed unit with intensive care control. SWBH is performed under sedation. During the treatment, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, blood pressure, core temperature, as well as electrolyte and blood gases are strictly supervised and controlled.

To establish a Ph shift within the tumor area, a high glucose solution is administered intravenously. Simultaneously, an infrared A light 850-1300 mm wave length is introduced to increase the body temperature. Combining thermal damage with a Ph shift makes certain functions within the tumor cells fail, allowing the tumor cells to become more susceptible to cytostatics (chemotherapy substances).

Which diseases are treated with Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia?

Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia at Klinik St. Georg
Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia at Klinik St. Georg

SWBH is mainly used in:

  • Advanced stage cancer with for example lymph node, pulmonary, liver, bone and bone marrow metastases
  • Peritoneal metastases and ascites
  • Systemic malignant lymphomas and sarcomas.
  • As a metastatic prophylaxis in high risk patients, i.e. young premenopausal women with breast cancer, lymph node involvement and negative hormone receptor status.

SWBH also enhances the effects of an adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation treatment. For patients with diffuse lung or liver metastases, distended bone metastases, or with bone marrow involvement it is recommended to administer adjuvant chemotherapy (i.e. Mitomycin, cisplatin, Ifosphamid, etc.). It has been shown that certain cytostatics are heat sensitive and thus an enhancement of the effect can be achieved without using high dosages. The strong toxic side effects that patients may experience while using standard chemotherapy are overcome with this form of treatment.

In our hospital SWBH is frequently carried out in combination with Insulin Potentiated Chemotherapy, as well as with low dosed chemotherapy.

Systemic Whole Body Hyperthermia is also offered for benign diseases:

  • Lyme diase, especially Lyme disease with neurological involvement
  • Hypertension stage I and II
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic viral diseases (Hepatitis C, etc.)
  • Therapy resistant neuralgia

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