A Short Guide to Hyperbaric Medicine & Its Benefits

rf2eHuman body depends on the consumption of oxygen all the time. Oxygen helps to produce cellular energy in the mitochondria (that you can find in every cell of the human body). In a high pressure, more than the sea level, the supply of 100% oxygen can provide a bunch of health benefits.

We all know that hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT is a non-invasive method which supplies oxygen at a high concentration. HBOT is a natural healing process that provides the body with extra oxygen. What is meant by the word “hyper?” It means “increased.” “Baric” means “pressure.” The patient should be taken into the chamber where he/she will lie comfortably for 90-120 minutes. The duration depends on the severity of the wounds and the complications. Gradually, the increase of oxygen stimulates angiogenesis (angiogenesis refers to new blood formation in the tissues). Many experts have opined that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can speed up the healing process by three to five times.

Benefits of Hyperbaric Medicine

Decompression Sickness

In its initial stage, HBOT was used to treat decompression sickness only. Decompression sickness or DCS is a condition that takes place when frequent decompression creates nitrogen bubbles. Scuba divers, astronauts, aviators, and compressed-air workers are more likely to be affected by DCS. HBOT is regarded as the most effective treatment for DCS. Nowadays, the periphery of hyperbaric medicine is not confined to DCS.

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Hyperbaric medicine or treatment heals diabetic foot ulcers. Several studies have stated that 15% of all diabetic patients are likely to develop diabetic foot ulcers at some point. HBOT raises the level of oxygen in the affected areas.

Gas Embolism

Gas embolism takes place when gas bubbles are created in the arteries and veins. Reasons behind gas embolism include accidental intravenous air injection, cardiopulmonary bypass accidents, needle biopsy of the lung, hemodialysis, central venous catheter placement, gastrointestinal endoscopy, hydrogen peroxide irrigation, arthroscopy etc. HBOT reduces these bubbles.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide toxicity causes carbon monoxide poisoning. HBOT reduces the amount of CO present in the blood. If a patient starts taking hyperbaric therapy at the right time for carbon monoxide poisoning, he/she can avoid long-term damages.

Apart from these, there are many other benefits of hyperbaric medicine such as

  • Severe Anemia
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Compromised Grafts
  • Acute Thermal Burn Injury

FDA’s Take on HBOT

Food and Drug Administration or FDA has approved HBOT for certain indications. This approval has paved its path to popularity. Due to this approval, a lot of people come to know about HBOT and they are taking a keen interest in this treatment.

Types of Hyperbaric Chamber

There are two types of hyperbaric chambers – monoplace chamber and multiplace chamber.

1. Monoplace Chamber

Monoplace chamber is designed for only one person. It looks like a long plastic tube that is quite similar to an MRI machine. When a patient enters the chamber, a technician slowly increases the pressure with 100% pure oxygen.

2. Multiplace Chamber

In a multiplace chamber, two or more people can take the therapy at the same time. There is no major difference in functionality between monoplace and multiplace hyperbaric chamber except one. In a multiplace chamber, people breathe pure oxygen with the help of a mask or hood.

How does the Process Go on?

Nowadays, a number of hospitals and healthcare centers offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Even you can buy a hyperbaric chamber for your personal use. You can lie or sit comfortably in these chambers. You may feel a bit uneasy in your ears as if you are traveling in an airplane. To avoid this, you need simply to swallow a gum.

Any kind of injury damages the blood vessels that release fluid and leak the fluid into the tissues causing swelling. This swelling makes the cells deprived of oxygen and in this way, the cells are led to death. HBOT combats this swelling and lets oxygen flood the tissues. Apart from this, HBOT also fights against reperfusion injury and increases the formation of connective tissues or collagen.

A Final Takeaway

We all deserve a healthy and happy life. Often we ruin our life due to our negligence. Please don’t do that. Life is the best gift to us by the almighty. Therefore, we need to enjoy our life to the fullest. If you are going through any of the indications listed above, you should try hyperbaric medicine under the supervision of your physician.

If you have any questions, please ask below!