Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is an important, state-of-the-art approach to wound healing. While patients relax inside a comfortable, transparent chamber, they breathe pure oxygen in a pressurized environment. This therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which in turn promotes wound healing. HBO therapy is usually used in combination with other approaches to wound healing and can also be used to address other medical conditions and disease processes.
Preparing for HBO therapy
If you or a loved one has been prescribed HBO therapy by a physician, there are several important steps to follow:
- Prepare a list of all the medications, prescription and non-prescription, and share this with the care team.
- Stop smoking. Smoking constricts blood vessels and reduces the delivery of blood and oxygen to body tissues, counteracting the benefits of the therapy.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of illness (such as fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache or body aches, alert the care team. You may need to reschedule therapy.
What to expect
The number of treatments depends on individual needs and how well the body responds to treatment. Patients with problem wounds often require 20 to 30 treatments to achieve best results. A typical schedule is treatments once a day, Monday through Friday.
During HBO therapy patients lie comfortably in the chamber and breathe normally. They are able to listen to music, watch television or movies on the DVD/VCR, or nap. Sessions normally last about two hours.
Patients may experience a feeling of “fullness” in the ears during a portion of the therapy, similar to feelings experienced during an airplane flight. Prior to therapy, the care team will teach a few easy techniques for avoiding ear pressure discomfort.
A few individuals experience after-effects following therapy. These may include a crackling sensation in the ears, brief light-headedness or temporary changes in eyesight.