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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non invasive mode of medical treatment in which the patient is entirely enclosed in a pressure chamber filled with oxygen at a pressure greater than one atmosphere.

It is a painless procedure that can be carried out in either in a monoplace chamber where only one patient is in the chamber, or a multiplace chamber where the patient along with someone else are inside the chamber. The chamber is pressurized with 100% pure oxygen.

Topical hyperbaric oxygen therapy technique includes delivering 100% oxygen directly to an open, moist wound at a pressure slightly higher than atmospheric pressure through special devices. The patients may be trained and can use these devices at home.

There are many conditions that may benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy such as sores and gangrene that will not heal or that are related to diabetes, decompression sickness, osteomyelitis, severe anemia and others. Healing wounds and burn victims can benefit from this treatment with its effect on body tissues and wound healing.

In severe thermal burns tissue damage will happen leading to hypoxia (insufficient supply of oxygen) and tissue death. Tissue damage may progress due to the failure of the surrounding tissue to supply borderline cells with oxygen and nutrients necessary to sustain viability. Hypoxia will prevent normal wound healing. HBOT will accelerate wound healing by providing the oxygen needed to stimulate and support wound healing.

Burned patients have increased susceptibility to infection due to the loss of skin which acts as a barrier to bacterial invasion. HBOT can be useful in treating some of these infections. It can act by enhancing leukocyte and macrophage activity, potentiating the effects of antibiotics and act directly on anaerobic bacteria.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used in the treatment of smoke inhalation. Carbon monoxide has a high affinity to hemoglobin and when it is inhaled it will bind to hemoglobin forming a compound called carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), this will lead to hypoxia and decrease oxygen delivery to tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen decreases the half life of carboxyhemoglobin and fasten the disassociation of carbon monoxide from hemoglobin making hemoglobin available for oxygen.

Side effects may include:

  • Ear and sinus barotraumas.
  • Myopia.
  • Aggravation of congestive heart failure.
  • Oxygen seizures.
  • Pulmonary barotraumas


The Hyperbaric oxygen therapy course will vary depending on the condition, severity and the response of the patient to therapy.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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