Frequently Asked Questions About HBOT
How does HBOT work?
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ambient pressure inside the computerized, state-of-the-art, hyperbaric oxygen chamber is gradually increased with the addition of 100% oxygen.
The patient lies comfortably and breathes normally during treatment while enjoying a DVD or television program on a mounted flat screen TV. Many people choose to use their treatment time to simply relax or to take a nap. Atmospheric pressure within the hyperbaric chamber is adjusted to accommodate each patient’s treatment protocol.
How does a “dive” feel?
During the compression and decompression phases of the treatment or “dive,” pressure in the ears is equalized by swallowing or yawning to clear the ears, similar to being in an airplane during takeoff or landing. Sensations are no different than being in room air during main part the 60 minute treatment.
What happens on the cellular level?
The basic principle behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy is easy to understand. In normal conditions, only red blood cells have the ability to carry oxygen. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, inhaled oxygen dissolves into all body fluids – such as plasma, lymph, interstitial, synovial and cerebrospinal fluid – thereby providing the body with new vehicles of O2 transport. The resultant increased oxygen levels improve the body’s ability to create new blood vessels (angiogenesis), build new connective tissue and and foster the growth of new cells (fibroblast formation) and aid in the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria and remove toxins (an increased immunologic response). Areas of the body that may have had restricted blood flow because of injury or disease are able to receive oxygen during HBOT.
What health conditions are contraindicated for HBOT?
Persons who have a history of pneumothorax, commonly called a “collapsed lung”, are not candidates for receiving HBOT. Patients currently taking certain cancer medications, suffering from severe emphysema and those in end stage heart failure (with ejection fractions below 35%) are also not eligible for treatment.
Those with high fever, active respiratory tract infection, sinus or Eustachian tube problems, seizure disorder and pregnant individuals also require special screening and individualized consideration. A detailed health history will be taken from all individuals who seek treatment.
Are there any potential side effects?
Utmost care is taken to educate patients about the techniques and importance of clearing their ears during the compression and recompression stages of hyperbaric oxygen treatment because of the potential for barotrauma or middle ear “squeeze”. Simply swallowing or yawning in order to equalize ear pressure (similar to being on an airplane during takeoff and landing) is an effective way to avoid this situation and protect the ears during these changes in pressure. Appropriate patient screening by our physicians and patient monitoring during treatment also helps to circumvent this condition.
What can I bring into the chamber?
Patient safety is the foremost priority during the administration of HBOT. Hyperbaric Therapy of Pittsburgh Hyperbaric strictly adheres to international safety guidelines. Manufactured in the United States, chambers are state-of-the-art, FDA approved and provide the most advanced technology and safety available in the hyperbaric industry today. We provide 100% cotton scrubs that must be worn during hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Water bottles are also provided for patient comfort. Any other objects must be cleared by our personnel in compliance and adherence to strict safety guidelines. Patients will receive appropriate chamber safety education before the first treatment as well as ongoing monitoring by trained staff. Lockers are provided for clothing and valuable items.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments will differ according to condition being treated, whether chronic versus acute and upon individual patient need as determined by the physician. A personalized HBOT treatment plan will be discussed during your initial, complimentary consultation.
How do I get started?
Contact Hyperbaric Therapy of Pittsburgh Hyperbaric to schedule a complimentary consultation with our physicians.
Ongoing medical treatments and other therapies are carefully considered during evaluation and your HBOT progress reports can be communicated to your primary physician and therapists. Direct physician referrals are also accepted to initiate treatment.