Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy was originally developed to help deep-sea divers overcome decompression sickness – “the bends”. Today, HBO2 therapy is used for many different reasons: fighting infections, healing wounds, and treating conditions ranging from cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning to radiation injury. At St. Joseph Medical Center, we use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat chronic wounds. Studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen has increased healing by an average of 25 percent in appropriate patients.
How It Works
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a specialized treatment that allows you to breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. In the chamber, a very high concentration of oxygen – 10 to 20 times the normal amount – is delivered to the bloodstream. This pure oxygen can penetrate areas that normal oxygen-carrying red blood cells can’t reach. As a result, it helps revitalize tissues that receive poor blood flow and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels.
HBO2 also enables more infection-fighting white blood cells to reach affected areas. Most patients will require multiple treatments over the course of several weeks in order to see full results.
The Treatment Experience
Hyperbaric therapy is totally painless and requires no participation of any kind from the patient. In fact, many people will sleep or watch TV through treatment, which may last for one to two hours. When you come into St. Joseph Medical Center, our Hyperbaric-trained personnel will help comfortably position you inside the chamber.
Your technologist will then increase the air pressure inside the chamber. (The feeling is akin to the pressure change that occurs when taking off in an airplane.) At the end of the treatment session, the pressure will slowly decrease. You will be monitored you throughout the entire process and a physician is always nearby. The technician will also help you equalize the pressure between your ears, if necessary. After your hyperbaric therapy session, you may feel a little light-headed, but this feeling will pass in just a few minutes.
To learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy – and whether it’s right for you – call the Advanced Wound Care Center at 713.356.7820.