Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the therapeutic use of oxygen under pressure used to aid in wound healing. Oxygen is essential to all stages in wound healing; insufficient oxygen supply is the most common cause for delayed wound healing. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the RBC and plasma utilizing hyperbaric oxygen treatments we can stimulate wound healing by:
- Increasing tissue oxygenation up to 20 times normal
- Angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels)
- Vasoconstriction to decrease edema
- Decrease inflammation
- Production of growth factors which are essential to wound healing
Wound healing rates are directly related to level of oxygenation reaching the tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used to aid in healing wounds for over 40 years. Indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- Diabetic foot ulcers with delayed healing
- Compromised skin grafts and flaps
- Gas Gangrene
- Crush injury
Radiation Tissue Damage
Often normally healthy tissue is damaged during radiation therapy for cancer. One of the mechanisms with which radiation destroys cancer involves destruction of the arteries providing blood to the tumor. It also may destroy the arteries in the otherwise healthy tissue around the tumor including intact skin. The damage is referred to as delayed radiation tissue damage since the damage may not be apparent for 6 months or longer after the radiation exposure. Damage may manifest itself in many forms depending on the area of the body irradiated such as radiation proctitis, radiation cystitis, Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw, radiation esophagitis, etc. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is evidence based to help restore the damaged microcirculation in the radiation damage tissue.
In-Chamber Treatment Sessions
Today, hyperbaric chambers constitute the most minimally invasive, best low risk-to-benefit approach to limb salvaging and hypoxic damaged tissue management when used appropriately. Risking your patient to preventable limb loss, unnecessary operative complications or repeat procedures, is no longer your only choice. There is a cost-effective, low-risk alternative with HBOT.
In each HBOT treatment session, patients intermittently breathe 100 percent oxygen while resting inside of a chamber. Most patients experience a brief warming sensation and some fullness in their ears as the chamber cabin is pressurized. This is quite similar to what is experienced when the cabin of an airplane is pressurized. The pressure inside the chamber gradually increases to greater than one atmosphere absolute (a)tm abs or “sea level”. With customized oxygen delivery hoods, oxygen is breathed and then dissolved immediately into the patient’s plasma, speeding the delivery of concentrated oxygen to the hypoxic or diseased tissue.
Throughout the approximately 90 minutes of HBOT, a clinical staff member is also present within the chamber and attends to patients at all times during their treatment session. As they emerge back to surface pressure at the end of each treatment, patients often experience a cooling sensation along with mild crackling as their middle ear pressure equalizes.
The centerpiece of our facility is our 9-feet-high by 170-square-feet multiplace, hyperbaric chamber. Up to eight patients can be comfortably treated at one time in our large chamber, as they read, watch a DVD or listen to music while sitting in recliners.
Learn more about wound care.