Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments

Boosting oxygen levels

Your body's tissues need oxygen to function. But when those tissues are damaged, they need even more oxygen to heal and survive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) increases the amount of oxygen in your blood stream, giving your body the extra fuel it needs to repair itself.

Hyperbaric oxygen is a mode of therapy in which the patient breathes 100% oxygen at pressures greater than normal atmospheric (sea level) pressure. HBOT involves systemic delivery of oxygen at levels two to three times greater than atmospheric pressure.

Conditions Treated by HBOT

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a powerful healing tool. Your doctor may recommend HBOT for a number of medical conditions, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Air bubbles in your blood vessels
  • Burns
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Decompression sickness
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Crush injuries
  • Infections
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Radiation injuries
  • Surgical wounds
  • Wounds that won't heal
  • Benefits of HBOT

    Increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the blood through HBOT promotes wound healing by:

  • Fighting infection, inflammation and toxins - HBOT enhances antimicrobial activity and                      causes toxin inhibition and toxin inactivation.
  • Repairing damaged tissue - With repeat treatments, patients experience enhanced cell                      division and new collagen production.
  • Increasing circulation - Hyper-oxygenation provides immediate support to areas of                            compromised blood flow.
  • New blood vessel growth - Research shows that HBOT significantly increases the number and         size of blood vessels in damaged tissues and wounds.
  • Reducing pain - HBOT reduces swelling and the associated pain.
  • How exactly is HBOT administered?

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used for advanced, complicated wounds and infections that do not heal on their own. Here's what you can expect during treatment:

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered in an enclosed chamber of pressurized oxygen. While inside, you'll breathe 100% pure oxygen under atmospheric pressure up to three times higher than normal. This treatment significantly increases the amount of oxygen in your blood stream. When this oxygen-rich blood reaches damaged tissues, it stimulates healing. 

    Aurora BayCare Medical Center has Monoplace (single-person occupancy) chambers, providing treatment to one patient at a time.

    You will be provided with cotton garments to wear during therapy.  Once you are lying comfortably on the transfer gurney, it will be slid into the chamber. After the door closes, you will hear the gentle "hiss" of the incoming oxygen used to pressurize the chamber.

    As pressure develops in the chamber, you may notice a slight warming. Many patients experience a sense of fullness in their ears, similar to what you might feel while flying in an airplane. Once the chamber reaches standard treatment pressure, this ear discomfort usually goes away. Many patients read, watch television, sleep or listen to music during treatment.

    At the end of treatment, during decompression, the chamber becomes cooler. You may feel a slight popping sensation in your ears as you adjust to the changing pressure.

    How long does a hyperbaric oxygen treatment last?

    Most treatments last about 2 hours. Treatments for acute indications, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, may last longer than that. Under rare circumstances, some diving injuries may require treatment even longer than 8 hours.

    How many treatments will I need?

    Each condition is different. People with some emergency conditions will only need one or two treatments.  However, patients with chronic wounds may require 30+ treatments.  The wound and hyperbaric team will monitor your response to hyperbaric oxygen therapy and let you know how many treatments are expected.

    Outpatients may typically schedule once-a-day treatments, four days a week.  Hospital patients may be scheduled twice a day.

    How much pressure will be used for HBOT treatment?

    Treatments to enhance wound healing for chronic conditions are usually at 2.4 Atmospheres Absolute Pressure (ATA). Most emergencies are treated with greater pressures. Many patients require pre-screening such as chest x-rays and laboratory work in addition to a thorough history and physical examination to minimize the risk of any adverse side effects.  

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