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What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive painless mode of therapy. A patient receiving HBOT breathes 100% oxygen intermittently, at a pressure greater than sea level, while in an enclosed pressure 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 normobaric conditions.


Treatment is delivered by a monoplace hyperbaric chamber. The chamber is transparent, which allows for the patient see out, as well as allowing our board certified medical staff to monitor the patient. Each chamber is equipped with a communication device that allows for interaction between our staff and the patient. During the treatment, the patient is able to watch television, DVDs, or listen to CDs. Generally, you will experience no after-effects from HBO therapy. However, some patients report a “crackling” sensation in their ears after treatments. Clearing your ears will relieve this sensation. Some patients report feeling light-headed for a few minutes following treatment, but this is only for a brief period, and they are soon able to continue with their normal daily activities. At the completion of each treatment, the patient will be evaluated by one of our physicians and discharged from the unit. Upon arrival to our facility, the patient's vital signs will be obtained, blood glucose levels will be evaluated (for diabetic patients) and any prescribed medication will be given to facilitate the treatment. The patient may be placed in a 100% cotton gown and may be placed on a cardiac monitor. As the patient descends to the prescribed atmospheric pressure, the sensation of "popping" in their ears may occur. This effect is the result of changing pressure and occurs during pressurization (descent) and depressurization (ascent). The typical length of treatment is 120 minutes. The length of treatment may vary dependent on the treatment protocol. During HBOT, the patient will breathe 100% oxygen at a pressure of 2.0 to 3.0 atmospheres. The pressure at which a patient is treated is determined by the physician’s diagnosis. Treatment protocols have been established by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society for each indication utilized by Hyperbaric Medicine Services.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) is divided into three categories :

  1. Elective
  2. Urgent
  3. Emergent

1. An elective condition is a medical condition in which HBOT is utilized in a supportive care modality. The following are considered to be elective indications for the use of HBOT

  • Compromised Skin Grafts
  • Compromised Skin Flaps
  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Soft tissue Radionecrosis
  • Radiation Cystitis
  • Radiation Proctitis
  • Radiation Vaginitis

2. An urgent condition is a medical condition in which hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an adjunctive modality. The following are considered to be urgent conditions for the use of HBOT:

  • Chronic Refractory Osteomyelitis
  • Clostridial Myonecrosis (Gas Gangrene)
  • Diabetic Foot Ulcer
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Crush Injury
  • Necrotizing Fasciitis

3. An emergent indication would be defined as any medical condition in which hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the primary standard of care. The following are considered to be emergent conditions for the use of HBOT:

  • Arterial Gas Embolism
  • Acute Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Decompression Sickness
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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.
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