Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the process of breathing 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure. A treatment that can be traced back to the 1600s, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been around for centuries. A British clergyman by the name of Henshaw is credited to be the first to build and run the first well-known hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
A well-established treatment for scuba diving risks and also for decompression sickness, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is on the cutting edge of treatments for a variety of injuries and illnesses. Some of the other conditions hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been known to help are anemia due to blood loss, gas gangrene, radiation injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, and much more.
The air pressure in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber is increased by two to three times. This improves your lungs’ ability to take in higher amounts of pure oxygen than is possible under normal pressure conditions. This allows your lungs to distribute extra oxygen throughout your body, helping to fight bacteria and prompt the release of growth factors and stem cells to promote healing.
A bubble moving in the bloodstream could obstruct the flow of blood to the body’s vital organs and tissues. This is called an air or gas embolism. The primary treatment for an air or gas embolism is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). HBOT increases atmospheric pressure and therefore reduces the air or gas bubble size. This helps it dissolve easily into the bloodstream.
Long periods of remaining in a state of low oxygen can be the key feature in several disease states. Providing more oxygen to the patient where this is an issue would help alleviate the oxygen deficit. The method of getting oxygen to the hypoxic tissue is important to consider and that’s where HBOT comes in. The use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps adjust the levels of oxygen in the plasma. This assists hemoglobin to reach maximum capacity in oxygen-carrying.
One of the most serious conditions of the central nervous system is an intracranial or brain abscess. A potentially life-threatening condition, it is an infection in the brain that creates anencapsulated area of pus. This condition is more prevalent in children between the ages of 4 and 7 and also in men who are under the age of 30. Treatment for this condition can be a medical challenge and many patients do not survive at all.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (in addition to the traditional treatments) for brain infections often helps reduce the duration of the antibiotic treatment, can reduce hospitalization, and even increase the chances of survival. HBOT is FDA-approved as a treatment for this condition.
Traumatic injuries such as concussions that are caused by an external force, wounds that penetrate the skull, and even other closed-head injuries can be treated by hyperbaric oxygen treatments. A hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment can be used on patients who have received a traumatic injury to help relieve symptoms, speed up recovery, and more by encouraging the repair of damaged tissues, angiogenesis, and blood vessel growth.
When an external wound needs to have skin transplanted from one place to another in order to cover a wound, this is called skin grafting. A transplant of not only skin, but also deeper tissues like blood vessels, muscle, or even bones, is called a skin flap.
Both skin flaps and skin grafts need a healthy, highly oxygenated transplant site in order to be successful. To promote optimal healing and to prepare the wound site before transplantation, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is used. This helps encourage the increase of blood flow and oxygen to the affected areas.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has become a useful treatment for many different diseases and injuries. This is due to HBOT’s ability to help counter large deficits in oxygen, promote faster healing and angiogenesis, help fight off infections, and keep inflammation controlled. There are many technological advances that are helping hyperbaric oxygen therapy accelerate its unlimited potential to fight against different wound-related conditions.
Contact us today to learn about treatment options near you. We’d be glad to help you learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.