Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is a medical treatment that is used to treat a variety of illnesses. During a treatment, 100 percent oxygen is breathed at an increased pressure for a prescribed amount of time.
In order to achieve this increased pressure, the treatment is administered in a pressurized environment (a hyperbaric oxygen chamber). This type of treatment is often used in conjunction with additional therapies to facilitate healing of various underlying medical conditions.
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy treatments are effective for a number of different medical and surgical conditions, either as a primary treatment or in addition to antibiotics and surgery. HBO therapy is regularly prescribed for the treatment of non-healing wounds.
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is performed in a hyperbaric chamber. The patient enters the chamber on a gurney, the door is closed and 100 percent oxygen begins to flow into the chamber. The chamber is pressurized gradually over 10 to 15 minutes. The patient breathes the pure oxygen for approximately 90 minutes, depending on the condition being treated. The hyperbaric chamber is equipped with an intercom system that allows the patient to communicate with physicians and staff while in the chamber. The patient can also watch television, listen to the radio or simply relax and sleep during treatment. After the prescribed treatment time, the flow of oxygen is stopped and the chamber is decompressed.
During the treatment, the hyperbaric chamber is pressurized using 100 percent oxygen. As the patient breathes normally, the pressurized oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs and carried throughout the body by the circulatory system. Subsequently, the patient receives up to fifteen times the amount of oxygen when compared to breathing air at sea level. This pressurized oxygen treatment has many therapeutic benefits, including:
The treatment is provided while you lay down on a bed inside the hyperbaric chamber.
Once the treatment starts (compression), you will hear the oxygen begin to circulate in the chamber. You will feel the change in pressure in your ears (similar to the feeling of driving down a mountain road or descending in an airplane). A nurse will coach you during the first few treatments to help you to relieve this “full” sensation in your ears.
When you reach the prescribed pressure, you will no longer need to clear your ears. You may listen to music, watch TV or a movie, rest, or sleep for the remainder of the treatment.
Each treatment lasts about 90 to 120 minutes. Near the end of the treatment, the nurse will gradually decrease the pressure in the chamber (decompression). During decompression, you may experience a “popping” sensation in your ears as a result of the changing pressure. This is a normal adjustment in your ears (similar to the feeling of driving down a mountain road or lowering altitude in an airplane).
The number of treatments required varies depending on your medical condition.
Some emergency conditions require only one or two treatments. However, most wound healing problems require between 20 and 30 treatments. These treatments are generally provided twice a day if you are hospitalized. Outpatients are usually treated once a day.
Treatments are offered seven days per week and we have staff available to treat emergencies 24-hours-a-day.
The number of treatments required will be discussed during your consultation with the hyperbaric medicine physician and may be adjusted as your medical condition improves. Repeated evaluations of your medical condition will be performed by your referring physician and the hyperbaric medicine team in order to guide your continued therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is covered by Medicare and most other insurance carriers for certain approved conditions.
Prior authorization is frequently required before starting hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Our qualified staff will assist in obtaining authorization, when needed.
Our Wound Healing centers, offer comprehensive, well–coordinated, quality wound care in Los Angeles County and Orange County, California. If you have a sore or wound that is not significantly better in a month, or healed entirely in two months, you should ask your doctor about MemorialCare’s Wound Healing centers.
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