Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive medical treatment administered by delivering 100% oxygen at pressures greater than two to three times the normal atmospheric (sea level) pressure to a patient in a chamber. Hyperbaric oxygen acts as a drug, eliciting varying levels of response at different dosages. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to have numerous physiologic effects including hyperoxygenation of tissues allowing oxygen delivery to tissues with decreased blood flow or low hemoglobin (oxygen carrying component of the red blood cell).
Other effects include the promotion of new small blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) in tissues with low capillary density ( low number of small blood vessels) such as a diabetic foot, a leg with peripheral vascular disease, or body part that has been damaged by radiation therapy for cancer treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes vasoconstriction which is beneficial in the treatment of burns and crush injuries. It enhances the killing of bacteria by neutrophils (white blood cell) and increases the delivery of antibiotics across the cell wall of the bacteria which helps treat conditions such as refractory osteomyelitis (bone infection).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an approved therapy by the FDA for numerous indications and it is prescribed under the supervision of a hyperbaric medicine physician. Although not totally without risk, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is considered to be safe and generally very well tolerated. HBOT is more than 350 years old and some modern therapeutic indications have been used for more than 50 years.
Delivery of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is performed in either a monoplace chamber where a single individual is treated at one time or a multiplace chamber where multiple patients are treated simultaneously. They are both equally effective and which chamber is best for you and your length of treatment will be determined by your treating physician.