What is HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a therapeutic treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of conditions usually as a part of an overall care plan.
Under normal circumstances, oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells. With HBOT, oxygen is dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph, and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. In this way, extra oxygen can reach all of the damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process. The increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas. It is a simple, non-invasive and painless treatment.
What are the benefits of HBOT?
It has long been known that healing many areas of the body cannot take place without appropriate oxygen levels in the tissue. Most illnesses and injuries occur, and often linger, at the cellular or tissue level. In many cases, such as: circulatory problems; non-healing wounds; and strokes, adequate oxygen cannot reach the damaged area and the body’s natural healing ability is unable to function properly. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy provides this extra oxygen naturally which is capable of reaching tissue far away from the existing circulation and with minimal side effects.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy improves the quality of life of the patient in many areas when standard medicine is not working. Many conditions such as stroke, cerebral palsy, head injuries, and chronic fatigue have responded favorably to HBOT.
What conditions does HBOT treat?
Hyperbaric oxygen is used to treat all conditions which benefit from increased tissue oxygen availability, as well as infections where it can be used for its antibiotic properties, either as the primary therapy, or in conjunction with other drugs.
Provincial healthcare services and Insurance consider the following conditions for HBOT to be covered for payment:
- Air or Gas Embolism
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Compartment Syndrome/Crush Injury/Other Traumatic Ischemias
- Decompression Sickness (Bends)
- PullquoteDiabetic and Selected Wounds
- Exceptional Blood Loss (Anemia)
- Gas Gangrene
- Intracranial Abscess
- Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection
- Osteoradionecrosis and Radiation Tissue Damage
- Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
- Skin Grafts and (Compromised) Flaps
- Thermal Burns
The following conditions are off-label which may or may not be covered by insurance or Medicare:
- Cerebral Palsy
- PullquoteLyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Near Drowning
- Recovery from Plastic Surgery
- Sports Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Are there different types of chambers?
There are basically two types of chambers: monoplace and multiplace.
Monoplace chambers (image left) are designed to treat a single person pressurized with 100% oxygen.
Multiplace chambers (image right) are designed to hold several people at one time and oxygen is delivered through a mask or a hood. The multi-place chamber is pressurized with compressed air.
How should patients prepare for treatment?
Only clean cotton clothing is allowed in the chamber. No cosmetics, perfumes, hair preparations, deodorants, wigs or jewelry are allowed in the chamber. The technician needs to know if any medications, including non prescription drugs, are being taken by the patient, and patients are advised not to take alcohol or carbonated drinks for four hours prior to treatment. In most cases, patients should give up smoking and any other tobacco products during their treatment period, as they interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen.
How is HBOT administered?
HBOT is administered in a private setting in state-of-the-art, multiplace place chamber of clear acrylic. This allows our trained technicians to closely monitor the patient and permits the patient to readily see outside the chamber. Patients are in constant view and communication with the attending technician via an intercom or may watch a movie, listen to music, or just rest.
Are there any adverse or side effects?
The most common adverse effect is barotrauma to the ears and sinuses caused by the change in pressure. To minimize this risk, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during compression. The pressure within the chamber on compression could be adjusted to facilitate clearing. Specialized ear plugs called ear planes can also be used to minimize the effects of pressure change. If these methods are not effective tubes may be inserted in the ears. This is extremely rare. Occasionally some patients may experience changes in their vision during their treatment period. These changes are usually minor and temporary. A rare side effect is oxygen toxicity which is caused by administering too much oxygen, however the protocols use in treatment of neurological injuries make this rare occurrence highly unlikely.
What information does the technician need to know from the patient prior to HBOT?
- If you have any cold or flu symptoms, fever, sinus or nasal congestion, or chest congestion.
- If there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
- If there has been a change in any of your medications.
- If you have skipped a meal prior to your HBO treatment.
- If you are diabetic and did not take your insulin prior to your treatment.
- If you have any concerns or anxiety.
How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy help brain injury or stroke?
When cells in the brain die, either from trauma or lack of oxygen, blood plasma leaks out into surrounding brain tissue causing swelling and reducing blood flow. These otherwise normal cells go dormant because they can’t function without the appropriate amount of oxygen. HBOT dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, making oxygen available to heal damaged capillary walls, preventing plasma leakage and reducing swelling. As the swelling decreases, blood flow can be restored to tissues preventing further damage. When the blood flow has been impaired for an extended period, it may be necessary to establish new blood vessels into the dormant tissue (neovascularization) and in many cases once availability of oxygen is established to these cells their potential to function again returns.
How does hyperbaric oxygen help a child with cerebral palsy (CP) or traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
In CP and TBI patients, some of the injured brain tissues may be “dormant” and non-functioning. HBOT can stimulate these “dormant” tissues and return them to more normal function. In young children, gross motor function, fine motor function, cognitive processing and spasticity can be improved.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, used in conjunction with other therapies, ensures the best recovery possible for children with cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. In a 2007 article by Dr. Pierre Marois, MD, pediatric physiatrist from Ste Justin’s Hospital Montreal, Dr. Marois compared the effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen against other therapeutic inventions for CP and found HBOT to be significantly more effective in providing quality of life changes in patients with cerebral palsy.
How are patients referred for treatment?
Patients are accepted either by self referral or by physician referral. Our staff will arrange for you to see a physician prior to treatment. Based on the physicians recommendations, patients are evaluated by our staff and treated based on their specific needs. To schedule an evaluation, please call us at 514-453-7978 or toll free 866-677-7978