Understanding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is HBOT: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

UHMS_AccreditedFacility3D SEAL.WITH BLEEDHyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a type of treatment used to speed up healing of carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, wounds that won't heal, and infections in which tissues are starved for oxygen.

If you have this therapy, you will enter a special chamber to breathe in pure 100% oxygen in air pressure levels one and half to three times higher than average. The goal is to fill the blood with enough oxygen to repair tissues and restore normal body function.

How does HBOT work?

HBOT helps wound healing by bringing oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved for oxygen. Wound injuries damage the body's blood vessels, which release fluid that leaks into the tissues and causes swelling. This swelling deprives the damaged cells of oxygen, and tissue starts to die. HBOT reduces swelling while flooding the tissues with oxygen. The higher pressure in the chamber increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Treatment aims to break the cycle of swelling, oxygen starvation, and tissue death.

HBOT prevents "reperfusion injury." This is the severe tissue damage that happens when the blood supply returns to the tissues after they have been deprived of oxygen. When blood flow is interrupted by a crush injury, for instance, a series of events inside the damaged cells leads to the release of harmful oxygen radicals. These molecules can do damage to tissues that can't be reversed. They cause the blood vessels to clamp up and stop blood flow. HBOT encourages the body's oxygen radical scavengers to seek out the problem molecules and let healing continue.

By blocking the action of harmful bacteria and strengthening the body's immune system, HBOT can disable the toxins of certain bacteria. It also increases oxygen concentration in the tissues. This helps them resist infection. In addition, the therapy improves the ability of white blood cells to find and destroy invaders.

HBOT encourages the formation of new collagen and new skin cells. It does so by encouraging new blood vessel to grow. It also stimulates cells to produce certain substances, like vascular endothelial growth factor. These attract and stimulate endothelial cells needed for healing.

What happens during treatment? Find out here.