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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Treatments

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) consists of breathing 100 percent oxygen while in an environment of increased atmospheric pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the tissues. This pressure is measured in atmospheres absolute or ATA.
The amount of pressure you will receive during the HBO treatment is 2.0-2.4
ATA, or the equivalent of diving to 33–45 feet of sea water. During the treatment you will feel pressure changes similar to riding in an airplane. Pressure change is felt in any trapped air space in the body. The pressure in these spaces must be equalized to avoid injury. Our staff will review with you the expected outcomes and potential risk as we develop your treatment schedule. The number of treatments you receive depends on your progress and healing rate.

Effects of Pressure Change

Ear barotrauma: You will need to equalize the pressure in your middle ears, just like you would if you were riding in an airplane. This can be done by yawning, swallowing or a modified Valsalva maneuver. Our staff will explain these techniques to you. If you experience any pain or discomfort during your treatment, notify the staff immediately to decrease the possibility of rupture to the eardrum.

Sinuses: Normally, the sinus passages are open. However, if you are congested, pressure in the sinuses may not equalize, causing discomfort. I f necessary, we can give you nasal spray or a decongestant to relieve discomfort.

Teeth: Normally, patients have no problems with their teeth. However, if you have air trapped under a filling, or a tooth abscess, you may experience some discomfort.

Temperature: At the beginning of each treatment as the hyperbaric chamber is pressurized, it may feel warmer. This pressurization lasts approximately 10 minutes. After the treatment pressure has been reached, the temperature will decrease. A t the end of the treatment pressure is decreased and it will feel cooler. This also lasts approximately 10 minutes.

Lungs: Many patients subconsciously hold their breath while in the chamber. It is important that you. DO NOT hold your breath and continue to breathe and talk normally during the pressure changes. Holding your breath during these times could result in the lungs collapsing. High doses of oxygen over an extended period cause damage to lung tissue. The oxygen you will receive is at a low enough dose and over a short enough duration that you should not experience any breathing problems. If you develop chest pain, burning or have difficulty breathing, please inform the hyperbaric physician or nurse immediately.

Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen

Oxygen Toxicity: In the field of wound treatment, oxygen is considered a drug. As with any other drug or medication, the potential to develop side effects exists. At a high enough dosage, oxygen can cause a seizure in some patients. A t the dose you will receive, oxygen seizures are extremely rare (less than 1 in 10,000 treatments), but it is
important that you understand there is a small chance this may occur.

Eyes: Many hyperbaric patients experience a change in vision after 2-4 weeks of
therapy. The oxygen causes temporary nearsightedness. The vision should return to its previous level 2-3 months after hyperbaric oxygen therapy is finished.

Patients with Diabetes: Many patients with diabetes experience a drop in blood sugar during hyperbaric oxygen treatments. We will check your blood sugar before and after each treatment. Be sure to continue with your prescribed diet and medication regimen.

When Should I Call the Wound Healing Center?

  • If your physician prescribes new medication or testing
  • If you have general flu-like symptoms before a treatment
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort after a treatment
  • If you have any questions
Patient Safety

Strict fire prevention guidelines are followed in the hyperbaric chamber, including:
  • Wearing only the 100 percent cotton gown provided by the staff
  • Not bringing any petroleum or alcohol-based products into the chamber
  • Not using any cosmetics, oils, lip balms, lotions, hair care products, cologne, perfume, etc. prior to a hyperbaric treatment
  • Not taking lighters, matches, any electronic equipment or battery operated equipment (watches, hearing aids) into the chamber
  • You may wear your glasses during the treatment.
*Visitors are not allowed in the chamber room except at designated times and only under certain conditions. Tours can be conducted and scheduled by a staff member. 
*The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco products inhibits the healing process, and reduces the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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Touro Infirmary, 1401 Foucher Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
Phone: 504-897-7011 Pencil
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