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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - Patient Guide

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - Patient Guide

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - Patient Guide


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive painless mode of therapy. A patient recieving HBOT breaths 100% oxygen, at a pressure greater than seal level, while in an enlcosed vessel This results in a dramatic elevation of oxygen in the blood, tissue and body fluids. HBOT can result in blood oxygen levels 15 times greater than blood oxygen levels in normbobaric conditions.  Learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO).


What should I expect during treatment sessions?

Hyperbaric treatments are painless, but you may experience a sensation of "fullness" in your ears, similar to that which you may have experienced while driving down a mountain, flying or scuba diving. The "full" feeling occurs as your eardrums respond to the change in pressure being exerted on them. The hyperbaric nurse/technician will show you how to relieve this fullness, so that you can avoid discomfort during your treatment. Once you are in the chamber you will hear the oxygen begin to circulate. You will be told when we start the gradual increase in pressure. You may notice a temporary increase in temperature during this "compression". A staff member will remain with you to adjust the rate of compression according to your tolerance and coach you on relieving the "full" sensation in your ears. The compression phase of the treatment generally lasts 10-15 minutes; depending upon how effective you are in "clearing" your ears. When you have reached the prescribed pressure, the reoccurring fullness in your ears will cease, you may watch television, rest or sleep during the remainder of the treatment, which usually lasts from between one to two hours. Near the end of your treatment, the pressure will gradually decrease towards normal over a period of 10-15 minutes, During this "decompression", you may experience a "popping" sensation in your ears as a result of the decreasing pressure. This “popping” is a normal adjustment in your ears. This is similar to that, which occurs when you are driving up a mountain or taking off in an airplane. Generally you experience no after effects from HBO therapy. However, some patients report a "crackling" sensation in their ears between treatments. This may be relieved in the same manner as clearing your ears during compression. If the "crackling" should continue, please report this to the hyperbaric staff. As with all medical procedures and treatments, there are some side effects that could result from exposure to hyperbaric oxygen. These are rare, but they will be discussed with you in detail before you sign your consent for treatment form.  

Can I continue to take my medications?

Some medications are not compatible with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Each drug you are taking will be considered individually in relation to HBO therapy. Any changes in your current medication will be discussed with your referring physician.

Can I smoke during therapy? 

Patients who smoke are required to stop smoking throughout their course of hyperbaric therapy. We can refer for you to smoking cessation counseling and other helpful resources. Patients who are unable to discontinue smoking will not be considered as suitable candidates for HBO therapy.

What if I have a cold or the flu? 

It is important that you notify the nursing or hyperbaric staff if you have symptoms of a cold or the flu, (i.e. fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever blisters, cold sore, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, ache-all-over feeling). Upper respiratory infections make it difficult to clear your ears. HBO treatments may be postponed until your symptoms have subsided.

Can I apply cosmetics? 

Cosmetics, hair sprays, nail polish, deodorants, or shaving lotions containing a petroleum or alcohol base are not allowed during hyperbaric oxygen treatments. However, you may apply these products after treatment. Please notify the nurse/technician if you have applied skin products prior to treatment. The staff will answer any questions you may have regarding products that are allowed in the chamber. 

What kind of clothing should I wear? 

You will be provided with a 100% cotton gown before your treatment. You may wear cotton under garments. Articles containing nylon or polyester should not be worn in the chamber. Watches and other jewelry must be removed. Dentures, contact lenses and other prosthetic devices may need to be removed before treatment. Rings may be taped if they are difficult to remove. Check with the hyperbaric staff regarding these requirements.

How often do I need to schedule treatment sessions? 

Your hyperbaric schedule depends on the indication for which you are being treated. The hyperbaric staff will schedule your treatments on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. Every effort will be made to consider your other activities of daily living. There may be times when your appointment will be cancelled or postponed due to an emergency situation. If you are an outpatient and find that you are unable to keep an appointment please notify the hyperbaric staff as soon as possible. Patients should arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled treatment time

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NOTE: This is a controlled document. This document is not a substitute for proper training, experience, and exercising of professional judgment. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents, neither the authors nor the Wound Reference, Inc. give any guarantee as to the accuracy of the information contained in them nor accept any liability, with respect to loss, damage, injury or expense arising from any such errors or omissions in the contents of the work.
Topic 736 Version 1.0