Conditions that have been effectively treated with hyperbaric oxygen include:
In addition to its effectiveness in treating dysbaric disorders such as gas embolism and decompression sickness, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven effective in facilitating healing in some chronic and nonhealing wounds. HBO2 helps restore oxygen tensions to normal or above-normal levels, stimulating fibroblasts, osteoblasts, osteoclasts and granulocytes needed in wound healing.
Patients are considered for HBO2 on referral from their primary physician or surgeon. Each patient - whether inpatient, outpatient or emergency - will be evaluated by the hyperbaric physician. Patients remain under the care of the primary physician during the period of hyperbaric therapy.
Successful care of problem wounds requires an integrated approach using HBO2 as an adjunct to appropriate surgery, antibiotics, physical therapy and other medical care. HBO therapy involves treating patients in a Hyperbaric chamber. The air inside the chamber is slowly pressurized and patients breath 100% oxygen through a mask, hood or ventilator. Breathing 100% oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure, elevates the patients arterial O2 pressure to levels of 1100-2000mmHg, causing an increased oxygen diffusion from capillaries and activation of various tissue growth factors resulting in new capillary blood vessel growth. The deleterious effects of tissue hypoxia are reduced allowing new tissue to grow. Other physiologic effects of Hyperbaric oxygen therapy include restoring the bacterial killing power of neutrophils, which are very dependent on oxygen to function. Elevated tissue oxygenation also promotes fibroblast growth and therefore collagen production, which is the framework of granulation tissue. Elevation of tissue O2 tensions blocks the production of alpha toxin associated with clostridial infections, and also speeds the elimination of carbon monoxide from the body.
Hyperbaric oxygen greatly reduces the size of gas bubbles in tissues and the circulation which helps restore arterial circulation in patients with acute gas embolism or decompression sickness.