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Hyperbaric Medicine


There are both acute and chronic medical indications for HBOT. Currently the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society recognizes the following as treatable medical conditions.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Soft-tissue radionecrosis
  • Crush injury and compartment syndromes
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Decompression sickness
  • Gas gangrene
  • Poor wound healing - especially chronic diabetic lower extremity ulcers
  • Exceptional blood-loss anemia
  • Chronic osteomyelitis
  • Refractory actinomycosis
  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Acute peripheral ischemia
  • Preservation of compromised skin grafts and flaps

How does it work?
Hyperbaric oxygen is a mode of therapy in which the patient breathes 100% oxygen at pressures greater than normal atmospheric pressure while enclosed in a clear, acrylic chamber. In contrast with attempts to force oxygen into tissues by topical applications at levels only slightly higher than atmospheric pressure, HBOT involves the systemic delivery of oxygen at levels 2-3 times greater than atmospheric pressure. This treatment allows for increased levels of oxygen to be delivered to tissues, which can stimulate the growth of new capillaries and accelerate the healing process. Hyperbaric medicine can also inhibit the toxins of some bacteria, such as clostridium, which causes gas gangrene. Increased oxygen at the cellular level increases the white blood cell's ability to have a lethal effect on both aerobic and anaerobic organisms. It also enhances the cellular uptake of some antibiotics. The greatest benefits are achieved in tissues with compromised blood flow and oxygen supply.

Date Updated: 09-DEC-2004

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