Imagine entering a room filled with pure oxygen at 1.5–3 times greater pressure to heal tissues and help them return to normal function.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is widely used for various health conditions, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic foot ulcers, and infections.
With the emergence of promising suppliers like Oxygen Ark, the availability and innovation of hyperbaric chambers have risen.
It uses high-pressure air in a treatment chamber, two to three times higher than the surrounding environment, to fight germs and stimulate the production of growth factors and stem cells for healing.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is commonly used to treat various health conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic foot ulcers, blood vessel bubbles, infections, decompression sickness, and radiation or diabetes-related wounds.
In this article, we shall discuss an important component of HBOT, hyperbaric chambers, and the different conditions you can treat with this component.
Understanding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy boosts the body’s oxygen supply, enabling healthy tissue function.
The U.S. Navy administered the first decompression sickness therapy in the 1930s, and since the 1950s or 1960s, healthcare facilities have used it.
There are two types of chambers used in the therapy:
- Multiplace chambers that resemble homes or airplanes.
- Monoplane chambers are smaller tubes suited for one individual to lie down while getting treatment.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treats chronic wounds and other medical conditions and delivers 100% oxygen.
Wound healing and infection prevention are ultimately accelerated because the lungs can absorb more oxygen due to the two- to three-times-higher oxygen pressure given in a pressurized chamber.
What Conditions Are Treated Using Hyperbaric Chambers?
This therapy is used to treat and heal several conditions in the current medical world.
Given below are some of the important conditions that can be treated using hyperbaric chambers—
1. Central Retinal Artery Occlusion
Central retinal artery occlusion is a sudden loss of vision in one eye, often caused by blood congestion. Risk factors include age, high blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, and blood viscosity.
HBOT has been associated with improved visual function and retinal appearance in patients with Pulcher retinopathy, a rare condition that can cause sudden vision loss.
It also increases blood flow and oxygen supply, which may be a treatment option for blocked arteries. Early HBOT showed promising results in visual recovery of bilateral blindness during hemodialysis.
However, it should be used under the supervision of a doctor and may not be effective in all cases of sudden vision loss.
2. Delayed Radiation Injuries
Radiation therapy for brain illnesses frequently results in delayed radiation necrosis, which is largely brought on by harm to oligodendrocytes and endothelial and glial cells.
In areas being treated for tumors, this damage—which results in vascular hyalinization and demyelination—is particularly prevalent.
Radionecrosis-related ulcers require specialized wound management, with hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HOT) recommended for delayed radiation damage.
HBOT improves tissue oxygenation and accelerates wound healing, reducing inflammation and improving blood flow to the injured area.
Medical professionals should monitor patients and manage any signs to avoid complications.
3. Refractory Osteomyelitis
Chronic refractory osteomyelitis does not improve or disappear following therapy. It is difficult to treat, and in extreme cases, an amputation, long-term antibiotic medication, or surgical debridement may be necessary.
Early detection and immediate treatment are essential for this ailment not to progress.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an AHA class II recommendation for treating chronic refractory osteomyelitis.
This therapy can benefit patients who have failed to respond to common bone infections. Further research is needed to understand the efficacy of this treatment option fully.
This activity describes the pathophysiology of osteomyelitis and highlights the role of multidisciplinary teams in managing these patients.
4. Thermal Burns
Thermal burns are heat-related skin injuries frequently brought on by touching hot objects, substances, liquids, steam, or flames.
Most small burns may be treated locally or as an outpatient procedure. Specialized burn centers treat around 6.5% of patients who have been burnt.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) helps the burned region receive more oxygen and speeds up recovery. It has been demonstrated to speed wound healing in burn victims by lowering pain and inflammation.
With other burn therapies, including wound care and pain control, HBOT should be an adjunct therapy.
HBOT includes inhaling only pure oxygen in a chamber that has been specially made, much like the one deep sea divers use when they experience pressure issues after resurfacing.
5. Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
Necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTIs) are serious bacterial infections that can result in excruciatingly painful swelling, redness, and aching tissues.
Sepsis and even death can result from untreated NSTIs. Early diagnosis, timely administration of antibiotics and surgical therapy, and aggressive debridement are necessary for a favorable outcome.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) may treat non-specific infections caused by bacteria like Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus.
HBOT benefits patients with underlying medical problems like diabetes or immunodeficiency and can also treat soft tissue radionecrosis necrotizing infections.
The Bottom Line
Hyperbaric chambers have proven to be valuable tools in treating various medical conditions. These chambers provide a controlled environment of increased atmospheric pressure, allowing patients to breathe pure oxygen.
This therapy has effectively treated various conditions, including decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, non-healing wounds, radiation injury, gas gangrene, crush injuries, and compromised skin grafts or flaps.
By delivering high oxygen levels to tissues, hyperbaric chambers promote healing, reduce inflammation, fight infection, and improve overall recovery.
However, it is important to note that using hyperbaric chambers should be based on individual patient assessments and prescribed by qualified healthcare professionals.
With ongoing research and advancements, hyperbaric chambers offer hope and effective treatment options for patients facing these and other medical conditions.