Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses a special chamber, sometimes called a pressure chamber, to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Some, but not very many, hospitals have a hyperbaric chamber. Smaller units may be available in outpatient center.
The air pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This helps your blood carry more oxygen to organs and tissues in your body.
Hyperbaric therapy can help wounds, especially infected wounds, heal more quickly. The therapy may be used to treat:
Treatments for chronic conditions may be repeated over days or weeks. A treatment session for more acute conditions such as decompression sickness may be longer but not necessarily repeated.
Bove AA, Neuman TS. Diving medicine. In: Mason RJ, Murray J, VC Broaddus, Nadel J, eds. Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 66.
Review Date: 9/24/2008
Reviewed By: Benjamin Medoff, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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