What is hyperbaric oxygen treatment?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves breathing 100% oxygen in a tube or a treatment chamber. In the oxygen treatment chamber, air pressure is increased to three times more than normal air pressure. The goal is to pump enough oxygen into the blood. The increased air pressure gives your lungs a chance and ability to gather more oxygen than they would normally gather if you were inhaling pure oxygen at standard air pressure. Your blood then transports this oxygen throughout your body to help fight bacteria and stimulate stem cells and growth factors which promote healing.
The treatment can be done in either a monoplace chamber or a multiplace chamber. A monoplace chamber is built for one person, and it uses a long plastic tube to get the oxygen to the patient. A multiplace chamber is for two or more people. In this room, different people breathe the same pure oxygen through hoods or masks.
Why is oxygen treatment performed?
Your body’s tissues generally need adequate oxygen supply to function. Wound injuries and infections damage blood vessels, causing the release of fluid that leaks into body tissues leading to swelling. This swelling causes tissue death by depriving it of the much-needed oxygen. When tissue in the body is injured or infected, it will require more than the standard oxygen supply to survive.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is done to speed up the healing of affected tissue by increasing the levels of oxygen your blood can carry. This temporarily restores normal tissue function to promote healing. Besides increasing oxygenated blood, the treatment also boosts blood flow and circulation, reduces swelling and pain, and enhances the effectiveness of antibiotics. It also boosts the number of white blood cells. The treatment also stimulates the formation of collagen and skin cells and boosts the body’s immune system by disabling toxins of certain bacteria.
What is hyperbaric oxygen treatment good for?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is widely used for decompression sickness, which is a hazard of scuba diving. It is also effectively used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, cyanide poisoning, air bubbles in blood vessels, serious infections, and wounds that won’t heal fast enough. Wounds that are commonly treated using the therapy include burns, crush injuries, diabetes-related wounds, and compromised flaps and skin grafts. People who have undergone certain radiation treatments due to cancer can also benefit, as well as people who have radionecrosis. Your doctor can also recommend the procedure if you have brain abscess, severe anemia, gas gangrene, sudden deafness, skin infection, bone infection, traumatic or acute inadequate blood flow in blood vessels, or a chronic infection known as actinomycosis.
Risks associated with hyperbaric treatment
The treatment is generally safe, and complications are rare. There are, however, some potential risks which include temporary nearsightedness, low blood sugar, middle ear injuries, seizures, and lung collapse due to pressure changes. In rare cases, a person can get oxygen poisoning. The number of treatments you need for recovery depends on the severity of the wound or condition and how well it responds to the therapy.
Atlanta Hyperbaric Center is here to answer your questions and help you decide which type of hyperbaric chamber is best for your needs.