Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – once used only to treat divers with the bends by using high pressure oxygen to force nitrogen gas out of the blood. Today it is recognized by physicians and insurance companies to treat a whole host of conditions.
The list keeps growing. Today it includes Gas Embolism, Carbon Monoxide, Crush Injury, Decompression Sickness, selected wound problems, Severe anemia, Narcotizing infections (flesh eating bacteria), Radiation tissue damage, Compromising skin grafts, Thermal burns, Diabetic sores.
The idea of treating disease with pressurized air dates back to the 1600’s. The early efforts were without scientific basis and were equally unsuccessful. It was not until the 1950’s that pure oxygen was used in a pressure chamber for cardiac surgery. It was found to be highly effective for treating carbon monoxide poisoning and gas gangrene.
The Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment can be given in two ways – the monoplace or the multiplace chamber. In the monoplace chamber the patient lays on a stretcher which slides into the chamber which is then sealed. Pure oxygen is used to pressurize the chamber. In the multiplace chamber, several patients are treated in a large chamber and breathe oxygen from a face mask or a hood. Both types of chambers enjoy equal results.
In London, doctors were groping for some treatment to help a 53-year-old man who had been suffering since the age of 8, when he had
undergone radical mastoidectomy. Following this surgery, he had a chronic ear discharge which proved resistant to all therapy, including the
Primarily because there seemed to be nothing to lose, doctors put the patient in a Hyperbaric chamber with 100 percent oxygen at twice
normal pressure for 90 minutes on each of four consecutive days. His ear discharge promptly ceased for the first time in 45 years.
In New York, a premature baby fought feebly for his life with an infected meningomyelocele – an abnormal protrusion of the spinal cord.
Nothing was able to stop the infection until a doctor used a small portable chamber which could apply pure oxygen under pressure directly to
the infected area. Two days later, the infection was cleared up and the infant was ale to undergo corrective plastic surgery.
But Hyperbaric (the word means high pressure) oxygenation is not without its dangers. In amounts not very much greater than those
used therapeutically, excess oxygen becomes toxic to certain enzyme systems and can damage eyes, lungs and even the central nervous
But what is What is Hyperbaric Oxygen?
HBOT is a prescription only medical treatment in which the patient breathes pure oxygen at a pressure above normal atmospheric pressure.
HBOT is used for a wide variety of treatments and is usually prescribed as part of an overall medical care plan. HBOT is simple in concept,
but requires expert knowledge to be safely administered and fully effective. The oxygen content of the patient’s bloodstream is increased to
many times its normal level and this helps to control infections and promote healing in many kinds of illness.