The Basics of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment in which a patient is placed inside a hyperbaric chamber and inhaled 100% oxygen at a pressure that is greater than atmospheric pressure. The increased pressure allows the oxygen to dissolve more readily in the blood, which can help improve the delivery of oxygen to tissues throughout the body. HBOT is typically used to treat conditions that involve tissue damage or impaired blood flow, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, and certain types of wounds that are slow to heal. It may also be used to treat certain types of infections, such as bone infections (osteomyelitis) and skin infections.
During HBOT, the patient is typically seated or lying down inside a clear plastic chamber, which is sealed and pressurized to a level that is higher than normal atmospheric pressure. The patient is given a mask or hood to breathe in the oxygen, or they may have a tube inserted into their nose or mouth to deliver the oxygen. The treatment typically lasts for about an hour, and the patient may undergo multiple sessions over the course of several days or weeks.
HBOT is generally considered safe, but it can have some side effects, including dizziness, fatigue, and ear and sinus pain. It is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, such as severe lung disease or uncontrolled epilepsy. It is also not recommended for pregnant women, as the effects of HBOT on a developing fetus are not fully understood.
Overall, HBOT can be an effective treatment for certain medical conditions, but it is not a substitute for traditional medical care. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of HBOT with a healthcare provider before starting treatment.