Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

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

In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is elevated two to a few instances higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can collect a lot more oxygen than can be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

When your blood carries this additional oxygen all through your body, this helps battle micro organism and stimulate the discharge of drugs called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.

Why it’s executed

Your body’s tissues want an adequate supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy will increase the quantity of oxygen your blood can carry. With repeated scheduled remedies, the short-term further high oxygen levels encourage normal tissue oxygen levels, even after the therapy is completed.

Hyperbaric oxygen remedy is used to treat several medical conditions. And medical institutions use it in numerous ways. Your doctor might recommend hyperbaric oxygen remedy you probably have one of the following conditions:

Extreme 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, resembling a diabetic foot ulcer

Radiation injury

Skin graft or skin flap at risk of tissue demise

Traumatic brain injury

Vision loss, sudden and painless


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

Potential risks embody:

Middle ear accidents, together with leaking fluid and eardrum rupture, attributable to modifications in air pressure

Temporary nearsightedness (myopia) caused by non permanent eye lens changes

Lung collapse caused by air pressure changes (barotrauma)

Seizures on account 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 certain circumstances, fire — as a result of oxygen-rich surroundings of the treatment chamber

How you prepare

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

To your safety, items equivalent to lighters or battery-powered devices that generate heat aren’t allowed into the hyperbaric chamber. In addition, you might must remove hair and skin care products which can be petroleum based, as they’re a possible fire hazard. Your health care group will provide instruction on getting ready you to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Throughout hyperbaric oxygen remedy

Hyperbaric oxygen remedy typically is performed as an outpatient procedure however can be provided while you might be hospitalized.

In general, there are two 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 often looks like a large hospital room — it’s possible you’ll sit or lie down. You might receive oxygen by way of a mask over your face or a lightweight, clear hood placed over your head.

Whether or not you are in a person or multiperson setting for hyperbaric oxygen remedy, the benefits are the same.

Throughout therapy, the air pressure within the room is about two to 3 occasions the traditional air pressure. The elevated air pressure will create a short lived feeling of fullness in your ears — similar to what you might feel in an airplane or at a high elevation. You can relieve that feeling by yawning or swallowing.

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

After hyperbaric oxygen remedy

Your therapy team assesses you together with looking in your ears and taking your blood pressure and pulse. When you’ve got diabetes, your blood glucose is checked. As soon as the staff decides you might be ready, you may get dressed and leave.

It’s possible you’ll really feel considerably tired or hungry following your treatment. This does not limit regular activities.


To benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you will likely need more than one session. The number of sessions is dependent upon your medical condition. Some conditions, resembling carbon monoxide poisoning, may be treated in three visits. Others, corresponding to nonhealing wounds, may require 40 therapies or more.