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Questions & Answers

What is hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is made of therapy in which the patient breaths 100% oxygen while in a pressurized chamber at levels 2-3 times greater than normal atmospheric pressure. When we are out and about in our usual environment, the concentration of oxygen in the air is approximately 21% and the Atmospheric Pressure Absolute (ATA) is 1.0. When in the chamber, the pressure can be increased to 3.0 ATA depending on which medical condition is being treated.

How does it work?
In the normal environment, our bodies depend on the blood traveling through our arteries to deliver oxygen to our organs and body tissues. If the blood supply to any part of our body is inadequate, that tissue may be damaged by the lack of oxygen. Some part of the previously damaged tissue may deteriorate because it was starved of oxygen, and the surrounding area may not function as well because the oxygen supply is inadequate.

The increased pressure within the hyperbaric chamber raises the patient's plasma oxygen concentration, which results in an increased supply of oxygen to the body's tissue. If we can provide oxygen to the deprived tissue, then we can hope to regain some function of that tissue and create new tissue. The effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy cannot be duplicated with topical oxygen.

What conditions can be treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been in use for over 40 years in many parts of the world to treat many different conditions, such as decompression sickness, air embolism, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Today, hyperbaric oxygen is used successfully as an adjunctive or secondary therapy, for conditions such as acute and chronic bone and soft tissue infections, hypoxic non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, preservation of compromised soft tissue flaps and grafts, and management of wounds in radiated tissue. In more recent years, hyperbaric oxygen has been used to treat brain injuries that have resulted from oxygen deprivation. These injuries can be the result of some event before or during childbirth, of traumatic injury at any time in life, or even due to stroke.

Diseases/Conditions Approved for Treatment

  • Air or gas embolism

  • Anemia

  • Carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation

  • Crush injury

  • Decompression sickness

  • Gas gangrene

  • Osteomyelitis

  • Radiation tissue damage

  • Refractory mycoses

  • Select problem wounds

  • Skin grafts and flap

  • Thermal burns

  • Necrotizing soft tissue infections

How long do treatments last?
With the exception of decompression sickness and cerebral arterial gas embolism, periods of treatment last approximately 60-90 minutes. Treatments may be given once or twice daily, and can be provided in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Usually 20-40 treatments are prescribed.

How can I find out more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and hot to get started?
If you would like to find out more about hyperbaric oxygen and our facility treatment center, please call 985.641.4985 today and ask for our Certified Hyperbaric Medicine Unit Nurse. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have, or schedule an appointment to meet with you in person.

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