What Conditions Can Be Treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) requires patients to inhale pure oxygen while enclosed in a chamber under high pressure. It increases the amount of oxygen in the body carried by the blood to supply injured tissues—patients who have the HBOT sessions breathe around 100% oxygen inside the chamber. The dose of oxygen and recommended treatment depends on the person’s health condition and how their body reacts to the sessions. In addition, HBOT can include risks and complications that doctors should inform their patients of before the treatment. HBOT treats several ailments ranging from infections to air bubbles in blood vessels. Treatments of different medical conditions can also include surgical or medicinal causes affecting a person’s body.

What Are the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Indications?

Medical professionals utilize hyperbaric oxygen therapy to address various medical conditions. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine has identified fourteen medical ailments with successful clinical trials in the treatments of HBOT. The FDA has approved some illnesses, while some are still in trial. The FDA approves the use of HBOT therapy for some diseases, such as:

Gas embolism

A gas embolism occurs when gas bubbles enter veins or even arteries. An arterial gas embolism (AGE) usually results from submarine escape training when someone rises after breathing compressed gas at deep depths. Another condition is a venous gas embolism (VGE), which occurs after compressed gas diving.

Brain abscess

Brain abscesses include cerebral abscess, subdural empyema, and epidural empyema disorders. Depending on the diagnosis, the hyperbaric treatment dose is usually around 2.0 to 2.5 atmospheres absolute at approximately 60 to 90 minutes per session.


Infections in burns are the leading cause of death in burn injuries. Burn treatment aims to provide quick healing, prevent scarring and pigmentation, and lower monetary costs.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

The two organ systems most likely to be injured are the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

Cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning

Cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning occur in people inhaling fire smoke.

Injury from crushing

Crush injury is a trauma caused to various body parts, leading to minor or severe limb damage. The injury may involve several skin, muscle, bone, and joint tissues.

Skin grafts and flaps

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is only necessary for skin grafts or flaps affected by radiation exposure or insufficient oxygen in the tissue.

Sudden deafness

Sudden deafness is a hearing loss of 30 decibels over three days or three frequencies. Most patients experience sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus, ear fullness or congestion, and vertigo.


Gangrene is an infection of the muscles. It usually is present in patients with complicated fractures that result in soft tissue injuries after accidents. The preferred treatment is usually HBOT therapy, surgery, and antibiotics in tandem.

Sudden vision loss

Sudden vision loss is a painless loss of vision and is usually permanent. It occurs in patients with inflammation of blood vessels, blood clots, and thickening or hardening of the arteries.

Necrotizing fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection of the soft tissues caused by flesh-eating bacteria.

Delayed radiation injury

Delayed radiation injury is one of the most studied and reported targets of hyperbaric oxygen treatment. However, the known causes of the condition are minimal.

Diabetically derived illnesses

Diabetic patients suffering from diabetic wounds can benefit significantly from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Diabetically derived conditions, such as infections and chronic inflammations in the feet and lower legs, may be treated effectively through HBOT because it delivers extra oxygen to these areas, helping regenerate damaged tissues. However, this medical treatment requires careful consideration and selection for individual diabetic patients as it is unsuitable for everyone. Nevertheless, with the correct application by medical personnel and the right criteria for patient selection, HBOT has proven to be an effective treatment option.

Decompression sickness

Decompression sickness involves gas bubbles in tissues or blood. It can lead to joint pain, skin rashes, peripheral or central nervous system dysfunction, choking, shock, and death.

Severe anemia

Severe anemia is the loss of red blood cells, usually caused by hemorrhage, hemolysis, or aplasia that affects how the blood carries oxygen.


Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone or bone marrow.

In addition, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may treat different conditions that the FDA has not yet approved. Various HBOT treatment centers may allow the treatment of such issues. Ailments the FDA has not approved are known as off-label conditions.

Off-label conditions may benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Lyme disease
  • Migraine
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Crohn’s disease

New illnesses will be added to the approved list with time and research. However, using HBOT therapy for off-label conditions may not be covered by insurance companies. Contact a hyperbaric physician who will determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an option for you.

Who Needs to Take Precautions Before HBOT?

Take precautions if you are considering or have even decided to pursue HBOT therapy. Before following the therapy treatment, ensure the hyperbaric physicians are certified with trained medical staff. Your healthcare provider administering the hyperbaric oxygen therapy should possess adequate training recognized by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Also, ask for a certificate proving they completed the course before you agree to follow through with the treatments. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not recommended for everyone. Some people may have certain illnesses or conditions that HBOT can worsen or be at higher risk of complex issues. Those who suffer from the following should consult with a doctor:

  • Those with certain lung diseases may be at higher risk for lung collapse
  • People who have a cold or fever
  • Those who have recently undergone ear surgery or injury

When speaking to a medical professional, list any conditions that may put you in a higher-risk category. If you need more time, ask your provider.


What Are the Complications of HBOT?

As with any treatment, a patient should know the risks before proceeding. However, complications rarely occur, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is mostly safe.

Some complications include:

Lung collapse

Air pressure changes usually cause lung collapse.


Excessive oxygen in the central nervous system can cause seizures.

Middle ear injuries

Injuries to the middle ear may encompass eardrum perforation and fluid leakage due to air pressure alteration.

Temporary nearsightedness

Eye lens changes may cause temporary nearsightedness.

Lowered blood sugar

Lowered blood sugar occurs in patients who use insulin.


Claustrophobia is a fear of confined places. Those sensitive to tight spaces should exercise caution when considering HBOT therapy, as it involves the patient lying inside a closed chamber.

In some cases of complications, patients may experience discomfort. Sometimes, individuals must take intermittent breaks to breathe regular air to avert oxygen toxicity. Be bold and ask more about other risks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

What Are the Side Effects of HBOT?

Treatments of any kind will affect the body. Some can be more severe than others depending on the duration and how each person processes the treatment.

It’s essential to take note of the potential side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Some common side effects are not as severe, while others can take a serious toll on the body. These include:

  • Lung damage
  • Sinus damage
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness

Most side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are mild. However, HBOT therapy can sometimes last for more than two hours, depending on the doses needed for each individual.HBOT therapy sessions lasting longer than two hours will likely cause side effects. Furthermore, they will also happen if the pressure inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber is more than three times the pressure in the atmosphere.

Feel free to ask your healthcare provider more questions about the possible side effects. They will consider any other medical conditions you have to help reduce the likelihood of experiencing side effects from the treatment.

Additional Read: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Clinic: 9 Essential Factors to Consider When Selecting HBOT Clinic

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Procedure

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an outpatient treatment. There are two different types of chambers.

  • The first hyperbaric chamber is designed for single-person use. In the mono unit, you lie down on a table where you will be enclosed in a transparent chamber.
  • The second type is an HBOT therapy room where multiple people are treated simultaneously in the chamber. Each person will have an oxygen mask or a transparent hood over their head. You can either sit or lie down for the treatment.

While in your therapy session, the air pressure will be around two or three times the normal air pressure. The sensation of fullness in your ears caused by the elevated air pressure will be short-lived. Furthermore, healthcare staff will be in charge of monitoring you throughout the session.

The hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment results will be different for each patient. Some individuals may require multiple sessions to complete their treatment fully.

Each patient’s treatment will differ depending on the medical condition and its severity level. Some treatments will even need a variety of other therapies and medications. Ask your medical provider for the correct information that best suits your needs.

Rely on NexGen Hyperbaric to Treat Your Medical Condition

NexGen Hyperbaric is one of the best options for HOBT therapy. With knowledgeable and respectful medical staff, NexGen Hyperbaric will answer your questions or concerns as best as possible.

Contact NexGen Hyperbaric today at 888-567-4302 to get a consultation for your condition and learn more about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy will help you.