HBOT – frequently asked questions.
What is HBOT?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as a part of an overall medical care plan.
Under normal circumstances, oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells. With HBOT, oxygen is dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph, and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. In this way, extra oxygen can reach all of the damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process. The increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas. It is a simple, non-invasive and painless treatment.
What are the benefits of HBOT?
It has long been known that healing many areas of the body cannot take place without appropriate oxygen levels in the tissue. Most illnesses and injuries occur, and often linger, at the cellular or tissue level. In many cases, such as: circulatory problems; non-healing wounds; and strokes, adequate oxygen cannot reach the damaged area and the body’s natural healing ability is unable to function properly. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides this extra oxygen naturally and with minimal side effects.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the quality of life of the patient in many areas when standard medicine is not working. Many conditions such as stroke, cerebral palsy, head injuries, and chronic fatigue have responded favorably to HBOT.
HBOT is extremely helpful even for otherwise healthy people. Occasional use of hiperbaric oxygen therapy prevents blood clots, increases bodies natural resistance and ability to deal with daily efforts at work, school or in sports. It even has a very positive effect on stress in general.
What conditions does HBOT treat?
Hyperbaric oxygen is used to treat all conditions which benefit from increased tissue oxygen availability, as well as infections where it can be used for its antibiotic properties, either as the primary therapy, or in conjunction with other drugs.
In HBOT – advanced contries, insurancecompanies consider the following conditions for HBOT to be covered for payment:
- Air or Gas Embolism
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Compartment Syndrome/Crush Injury/Other Traumatic Ischemias
- Decompression Sickness (Bends)
- Diabetic and Selected Wounds
- Exceptional Blood Loss (Anemia)
- Gas Gangrene
- Intracranial Abscess
- Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection
- Osteoradionecrosis and Radiation Tissue Damage
- Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
- Skin Grafts and (Compromised) Flaps
- Thermal Burns
Many other coditions are still in a research and confirmatory phase. Analysis of the results and the satisfaction of patients in such clinical studies show serious hope in succesful treatment even in following conditions:
- Sports Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Near Drowning
- Recovery from Plastic Surgery
How is HBOT administered?
HBOT is administered in a private setting in state-of-the-art, monoplace ‘Barox’ chamber of 30mm wide clear acrylic. This allows our trained technicians to closely monitor the patient and permits the patient to readily see outside the chamber. Patients are in constant view and communication with the attending technician via an intercom or may watch a movie, listen to music, or just rest.
Are there different types of chambers?
There are mainly two ways of dividing hiperbaric oxygen chambers. First is separating them on mono and multiplace chambers. Monoplace chambers are designed to treat a single person, while multiplace hold several people at one time. Oxygen is delivered through a NRB (non-rebreathable)mask or a hood. Some chambers are even pressurized with pure oxygen and patients do not need masks to breathe. This version is more delicate, because oxygen itself is very inflamable and accidents are more likely.
Seriuous medical insitutes allways practice hard chambers, where pressures can be reached up to 3,5 bar and even more in multiplace chambers. There are also soft-chambers on the market, simmilar to sleeping bags, that can produce up to 1,8 bar of pressure.
But the most important piece of data is of course the oxygen itself. The only appropriate one is a 100% medical oxygen, which is truely cleansed of impurities, allergens, moisture and other admixtures.
HBOT for healthy and athletic people ?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is by no means limited only on healing. Worldwide, very wide profile of people uses HBOT as a useful tool for promoting regeneration, concentration, stress reduction, etc. Occasional hyperbaric oxygen thrapy improves persons immunity and resistence, eases daily efforts at home, in school or at work, it even prevents blood clots, etc.
Every HBOT effect is even more essential if you are a pro or recreational athlete. Psycho-physical stress on such bodies is quite big. The reality of today’s recreational and pro athletes is the presence of sports injuries. The question is not just if there will be an injury, but rather when and to what extent. With the hyperbaric oxygen therapy we want to achieve good fitness level with athletes beside good and quick regeneration after practice and thus, above all, prevent sports injuries. In case such an injury occurs, we than achieve a much better and faster treatment, rehabilitation and return to sport venues. The hyperbaric oxygen treatment is recommended with injuries of ligaments, tendons, meniscus, joint capsules, spinal discs, bones, muscles and other soft tissues.
How many therapies are required to heal?
This is a question with no unambiguous answer. Every condition or disease is specific and it claims its own time heal. Improvement of general well-being and regeneration of persons body is achieveable allready with a few hyperbaric oxygen therapies. But when a more serious condition is in question, 5-10 sessions represent only the begining of the healing process. Generally, 20 therapies are needed, sometimes 40 or even 50. In some cases this is final, in some, aditional occasional oxygen therapy is needed. Usually once per month.
As mentioned before, every single person requires individual evaluation, which is performed by a hyperbaric doctor before the very first session. Quantity, frequency, pressure and duration of therapies is therefor determined individually.
Are there any contraindications for HBOT?
There are absolute and relative contraindications for treatment in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. But they are VERY RARE. Before the start of treatment, a doctor – specialist of anaesthesiology and intensive therapy with additional knowledge about hyperbaric medicine – will check you. After a detailed examination and medical history review, they will decide if you are suitable for a treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. With certain disease states, the doctor will order missing laboratory tests or diagnostic imaging (x-ray of the lungs, ultrasound of the abdomen …).
Is HBOT safe?
Prior to begining of oxygen therapy, a doctor – specialist of anaesthesiology and intensive therapy with additional knowledge about hyperbaric medicine evaluates every patient individually. Athough there are minor risks involved ( as are they in every single medical procedure), HBOT is considered to be one of the safest possible therapies for treating various medical conditions.
Which information is relevant prior to every hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Before every hyperbaric session, hyperbaric technician needs to know whether:
- you are on medications and if so, which ones,
- you have a cold, a flu, problems with stuffy nose or sinuses and any kind of chest problems,
- you are pregnant,
- you are a diabetic and you forgot your regular dose of insulin or missed a meal,
- you are claustrophobic,
- you have any kind of concerns about hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Is HBOT suitable for the treatment of brain stroke and traumatic brain injury?
Consequently after a TBI(traumatic brain injury) supply of affected brain area with oxygen and other nutrients (mostly glucose) is diminished, leading to dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. Hyperbaric oxygen chamber improves and accelerates recovery. The use of such oxygen therapy was scientifically confirmed. Substantial recovery of neurological functions in tissue, affected whether by brain stroke, traumatic injury or some other methabolic irregularities is proven. Major improvement is achievable even years after the original injury.