Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. HBOT is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving, and one of the first conditions for which HBOT was used. Other conditions treated with HBOT include serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal due to poor arterial blood supply from such conditions as diabetes, radiation therapy, or skin grafts or flaps.
In the hyperbaric chamber, the pressure with which your lungs are exposed to pure oxygen is raised up to as much as three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can absorb up to three times more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.
Your blood carries this oxygen throughout your body, stimulating the release of substances such as growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing. Also the high oxygen pressure helps your white blood cells more effectively fight infection, and the growth of new blood vessels is stimulate.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat a wide assortment of medical conditions, and different medical institutions use this treatment in a variety of ways. Your doctor may suggest a referral for HBOT if you have one of the following conditions:
- Air bubbles in your blood stream (arterial air embolism)
- Decompression sickness
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- A chronic non-healing wound
- A crushing injury
- Skin or bone infection that causes tissue death
- Radiation injuries and non-healing wounds in an area treated with radiation
- Skin grafts or flaps at risk of tissue death
- Severe anemia
- Sudden onset of vision loss (Central retinal arterial obstruction)
- Sudden painless loss of hearing (Sudden Sensineural Hearing Loss)