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What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you will breathe 100 percent pure oxygen under increased pressure. This level is much higher than the 21 percent oxygen found in room air. The air inside the hyperbaric chamber can be compressed up to three times the pressure found at sea level. This pressure is similar to that which is felt when diving underwater down to 66 feet. The combination of high pressure and pure oxygen drives the life-giving oxygen into the bloodstream at a very high concentration so that it can spread deep into the body tissues to help fight many types of illness.

While undergoing hyperbaric medicine, people breathe 100 percent oxygen under high pressure inside an enclosed chamber. “Due to the increased atmospheric pressure of the hyperbaric chamber, high levels of oxygen dissolve into the body’s bloodstream, resulting in a high level of oxygen tension in the body’s blood and tissues,” explains Susan Sprau, MD, medical director of UCLA Hyperbaric Medicine. “This increase in oxygen concentration promotes the healing of certain wounds.”

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not only a potential benefit for people with wounds that won’t heal due to diabetes or other causes, but it is beneficial for the treatment of other medical conditions. Among those conditions are:

  • Burns
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Severe anemia
  • Crush injuries
  • Arterial insufficiencies
  • Decompression sickness
  • Radiation injuries
  • Embolism
Dr. Richard Ricciardi
Advanced Practice Nursing Specialist

Great question! Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a method used to increase the amount of oxygen that your heart and lungs can deliver to the tissues and cells of your body. For most of what we do every day in life we can efficiently take the oxygen out of the air to keep us healthy and to perform our work and daily activities well. However, there are certain medical conditions where having "extra" oxygen available to the cells will promote healing or help prevent injury of the brain, muscles, skin and other body organs.

Dr. John T. Morris, DO
Vascular Surgeon

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment where people are given 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. Hyberbaric oxygen therapy can help with infection and with wounds that are not healing. This is a daily treatment for about two hours that gives super oxygen to the tissues and promotes blood supply. For wound healing it can be typically up to 30 treatments, so four to six weeks of daily treatments.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a type of oxygen treatment where you are put in a chamber with high pressure of oxygen. It helps in smoke poisoning and some serious infections.

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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.