Complications and Contraindications

Contraindications for HBOT

There are absolute and relative contraindications for treatment in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. 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 …).

Absolute contraindications:

  • untreated pneumothorax
  • taking drugs such as:
    • Bleomycin (an antibiotic for treating certain tumours)
    • Doxorubicin hydrochloride – Adriamycin (a medicine for chemotherapy)
    • Cisplatin (a cytostatic for treating cancer)
    • Disulfiram – Antabus (anti-cramp medicine)
    • Mefanide acetate – Sulfamylon (antibacterial medicine for treating burns and autograft)

Relative contraindications:

  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • heart diseases
  • pacemaker
  • pregnancy
  • epilepsy
  • high body temperature
  • dysfunction of Eustachian tube
  • infections of upper respiratory tract
  • claustrophobia

Complications with HBOT

The therapy in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is in most cases a safe method but there may be some very rare complications:

  • temporary near-sightedness (myopia)
  • damage of the middle ear – eardrum rupture
  • pulmonary barotrauma
  • cramps