HBOT FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy HBOT?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT for short, is a non invasive medical treatment which enhances the body’s ability to naturally heal by use of increased pressure and increased oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber. HBOT is used for a variety of indications and is usually part of an overall plan of care.
Because hyperbaric medicine is linked to the history of diving and diving medicine, undersea diving terminology is commonly used. For example, a single hyperbaric chamber treatment is called a “dive”.
Do I need a prescription for hyperbaric oxygen treatment?
Both medical clearance and a prescription for hyperbaric oxygen therapy are required before getting started. Please note that additional medical records may be required when indicated.
What is Hyperbaric Medicine?
“Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine involves the prevention of injury and illness from exposure to environments with increased ambient pressure (such as in diving or hyperbaric chamber exposure), and the therapeutic use of high-environmental pressure and the delivery of oxygen under high pressure to treat disease. The scope of the subspecialty emphasizes the occupational, environmental, safety, and clinical aspects of diving, hyperbaric chamber operations, compressed air work, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.”
What is a hyperbaric chamber?
“A hyperbaric chamber is a device that is intended to increase the environmental oxygen pressure to promote the movement of oxygen from the environment to a patient’s tissue by means of pressurization that is greater than atmospheric pressure.” > Ref: FDA
Are hyperbaric chambers safe?
HIN utilizes Perry SIGMA 40 monoplace hyperbaric chambers.
Perry hyperbaric chambers meet or exceed national standards for chamber safety. These standards include, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), ANSI/ASME PVHO-1, Safety Standard for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and NFPA-99: Standard for Health Care Facilities.
Are hyperbaric chambers comfortable?
The chambers we utilize have been optimized for patient comfort.
What medical and health conditions respond to HBOT?
A variety of indications respond to HBOT.
Are there any side effects?
There are a few potential side-effects to consider. The most common side effect is barotrauma (pressure-based injury) to the ears and sinuses caused by pressure changes. To minimize this risk, patients can use various techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears.
Other side effects are rare, but may include oxygen toxicity, claustrophobia, and accelerated maturation of cataracts. Occasionally some patients experience visual changes (progressive myopia) after several treatments that cause them to have changes in their visual acuity. This is usually only temporary. Complete recovery usually occurs within six weeks after stopping HBO therapy. Any feeling out of the ordinary should be reported to the hyperbaric technologist.
What is a treatment schedule like?
Treatment schedules are based on specific treatment protocols and goals. This can range from just a few dives or up to 20 or more dives. There are some chronic conditions that may benefit from ongoing treatments.
What if I am a smoker?
To receive the maximum benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are encouraged not to smoke during the course of therapy. Smoking (even one cigarette) causes blood vessels to constrict, which decreases the blood and oxygen supply to tissue, counteracting the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen. > Learn to live smoke free.
What does a treatment session feel like?
After you change into the designated hyperbaric clothing you complete a brief safety check with the certified hyperbaric technician (CHT) before getting started. The CHT or hyperbaric chamber operator will direct you to the hyperbaric chamber assigned to you for your session and work with you to get prepared for treatment.
Once your prepared, the large steel hyperbaric chamber door is slowly closed and your treatment begins. The large clear cast acrylic chamber view port allows you to easily see the CHT or hyperbaric operator through the entire process. You will start to hear the sound of the oxygen flowing, which has a light hissing sound. After a couple treatments, most people no longer hear the sound of the oxygen flowing and just go to sleep or resume watching their favorite movie or tv show. The hyperbaric chamber is gradually pressurized to the target treatment depth. You will typically feel a build-up of heat during the start of your dive due to the physics of pressurizing a gas “oxygen” into a hyperbaric chamber. The temperature will cool back down once you reach your target depth.
In the first 5-10 minutes of your dive, most people will feel a pressure change in your inner ears. However, once the chamber pressure stabilizes (like an airplane at flight altitude), this feeling, which can be alleviated by clearing your ears, goes away. With the provided bottled water, you can sip some water and the action of sipping and swallowing also helps you to clear your ears naturally. Yawning can also help.
People of all ages generally tolerate the treatments very well.
If you feel that you are extra sensitive to pressure changes and/or temperature changes, like those found in a hyperbaric chamber, then please discuss this with your treating physician.
How should I prepare for treatment?
When possible, come after having showered or bathed and before applying various hair and body products. Having clean dry hair, free of hair styling products and having clean dry skin, free of perfumes, body lotions, make-up and other products is preferred for maximum comfort and chamber safety and hygiene.
You will be provided hyperbaric designated clothing to change into. Undergarments should be made with natural cotton fibers and avoid synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon. Generally nothing except your hyperbaric approved clothing and the provided hyperbaric linen and provided water bottle (to help clear your ears naturally) will be allowed in the chamber. With this, leave your jewelry and watches at home. We do provide areas to temporarily store your personal belongings during your session. Please note that we are not responsible for lost or misplaced items.
What do I need to tell you before starting HBO Treatment?
Before treatment, please let the CHT and/or hyperbaric chamber operator know if any of the following apply to you before each HBOT session:
- If you have a cold or flu-like symptoms
- If you have sinus or nasal congestion, or chest congestion
- If there may be a possibility of pregnancy
- If your medications have changed
- If you have skipped a meal prior to HBO Therapy
- If you are a diabetic and did not take your medication or insulin prior to treatment
- If you have any concerns about your health that might effect HBO Therapy or experiencing anxiety
How can I arrange hyperbaric oxygen treatment before and/or after an upcoming elective procedure?
If you are local and planning to have hyperbaric oxygen therapy before and/or after your upcoming procedure, then bring in or work with your treating physician or surgeon’s office to fax in your pre-surgical clearance documents (e.g. physical exam, labs, chest x-ray) and hyperbaric oxygen therapy prescription (if one).
Since chamber times do fill up quickly, plan accordingly and have your documents submitted about 2-3 weeks prior to your anticipated first treatment so they can be reviewed.
Medical clearance will be required before getting started. Please note that additional medical records may be required when indicated.
Do you accept pets for hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
You may want to look into the Veterinary Hyperbaric Medicine Society (VHMS) and review > vHBOT Centers