What conditions can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is typically used for conditions where there is tissue hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen. Tissues usually have oxygen delivered via adequae blood flow. People with vascular disease and therefore poor tissue perfusion (poor blood flow) potentially would benefit from improved wound healing from hyperbaric therapy. Wounds that would benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy include aggressive soft tissue infections (gas gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis, mucormycosis), non-healing ulcers (including diabetic ulcers), crush injuries and skin grafts.

Originally this treatment was used to help divers who developed decompression sickness, commonly called "the bends", when they came to the surface too quickly. The treatment is still used for the bends, but is also used to treat many other diseases, including:

  • Wounds. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides diabetic ulcers, radiation injury, damaged soft tissues and chronic non-healing wounds with extra oxygen to support the growth of new blood vessels that can replace those which may have been damaged.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning. For individuals suffering from smoke inhalation, hyperbaric oxygen forces the toxic gasses out of the blood stream and provides extra amounts of oxygen to help damaged tissues recover more rapidly.
  • Infections. Hyperbaric oxygen augments the body's ability to kill bacteria in wounds such as gas gangrene or bone infections.

Other conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be provided in conjunction with other treatments. Depending on the specific problem, treatment may be provided in conjunction with recommendations by our physicians or those prescribed by other NewYork-Presbyterian physicians. This collaboration provides you with the most advanced and effective treatment options available.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.