Hyperbaric oxygen therapy includes breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment. Hyperbaric oxygen remedy is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a possible risk of scuba diving. Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen remedy embody serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that will not heal on account of diabetes or radiation injury.

In a hyperbaric oxygen remedy chamber, the air pressure is increased two to 3 occasions higher than regular air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can collect much more oxygen than would be potential breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

When your blood carries this extra oxygen throughout your body, this helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of gear called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.

Why it’s performed

Your body’s tissues need an adequate supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy will increase the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. With repeated scheduled treatments, the non permanent extra high oxygen levels encourage regular tissue oxygen levels, even after the therapy is completed.

Hyperbaric oxygen remedy is used to deal with a number of medical conditions. And medical institutions use it in numerous ways. Your physician may recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy in case you have one of many following conditions:

Severe anemia

Brain abscess

Bubbles of air in your blood vessels (arterial gas embolism)


Carbon monoxide poisoning

Crushing injury

Deafness, sudden

Decompression sickness


An infection of skin or bone that causes tissue death

Nonhealing wounds, equivalent to a diabetic foot ulcer

Radiation injury

Skin graft or skin flap at risk of tissue loss of life

Traumatic brain injury

Vision loss, sudden and painless


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is usually a safe procedure. Problems are rare. However this treatment does carry some risk.

Potential risks embody:

Center ear injuries, including leaking fluid and eardrum rupture, resulting from changes in air pressure

Short-term nearsightedness (myopia) caused by non permanent eye lens changes

Lung collapse caused by air pressure changes (barotrauma)

Seizures because of an excessive amount of oxygen (oxygen poisonousity) in your central nervous system

Lowered blood sugar in individuals who have diabetes handled with insulin

In sure circumstances, fire — because of the oxygen-rich environment of the therapy chamber

The way you prepare

You will be provided with a hospital-approved gown or scrubs to wear rather than common clothing throughout the procedure.

In your safety, items equivalent to lighters or battery-powered units that generate heat will not be allowed into the hyperbaric chamber. In addition, it’s possible you’ll need to remove hair and skin care products which might be petroleum based mostly, as they are a possible fire hazard. Your health care workforce will provide instruction on preparing you to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Throughout hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen remedy typically is performed as an outpatient procedure but will also be provided while you are hospitalized.

Generally, there are types of hyperbaric oxygen chambers:

A unit designed for 1 person. In a person (monoplace) unit, you lie down on a table that slides into a clear plastic chamber.

A room designed to accommodate a number of people. In a multiperson hyperbaric oxygen room — which usually looks like a large hospital room — it’s possible you’ll sit or lie down. Chances are you’ll obtain oxygen through a mask over your face or a lightweight, clear hood placed over your head.

Whether you are in a person or multiperson setting for hyperbaric oxygen remedy, the benefits are the same.

During remedy, the air pressure within the room is about two to three instances the conventional air pressure. The increased air pressure will create a short lived feeling of fullness in your ears — just like what you would possibly feel in an airplane or at a high elevation. You possibly can relieve that feeling by yawning or swallowing.

For most conditions, hyperbaric oxygen remedy lasts approximately two hours. Members of your health care crew will monitor you and the remedy unit throughout your treatment.

After hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Your remedy workforce assesses you including looking in your ears and taking your blood pressure and pulse. If you have diabetes, your blood glucose is checked. Once the crew decides you’re ready, you can get dressed and leave.

You might really feel considerably tired or hungry following your treatment. This does not limit regular activities.


To benefit from hyperbaric oxygen remedy, you’ll likely want more than one session. The number of classes is dependent upon your medical condition. Some conditions, reminiscent of carbon monoxide poisoning, could be handled in three visits. Others, corresponding to nonhealing wounds, could require 40 therapies or more.

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