Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a therapy where a patient is subjected to an enclosed chamber which has 100% pure oxygen in it. This high pressurized oxygen chamber is used to treat patients with specific diseases. When an injury or trauma is caused to the body, the body requires extra oxygen in its purest form to survive and recover. When pure pressurized oxygen is provided to the body, the lungs absorb the oxygen and this oxygen is then dispersed to different body parts quickly and efficiently as it is in its purest form.
Scuba divers who have suffered casualty and have water bubbles in their lungs often undergo this therapy to clear the water bubbles from their lungs. It is also used in severe cases of anemia, gangrene, bone and tissue injuries, burn casualties and many more.
There are two types of chambers mono and multi hyperbaric oxygen chambers.
Multiplace hyperbaric chamber:
A multiplace hyperbaric chamber is a huge chamber that can accommodate multiple patients at one time for effective treatment. This chamber is equipped with multiple door locking system to enable the entry and exit of the patients and the nursing staff.
Mono hyperbaric chamber:
A monoplace hyperbaric chamber is a chamber that uses 100% pure medicated pressurized oxygen for treatment. It typically consists of pressure vessel, operating console, patient stretcher, medical grade oxygen supply and medical grade air supply. This is a private chamber which can accommodate one patient at a time. Each chamber is about eight feet long and three feet wide which is spacious enough for the patient to lie down and take the treatment. The chamber top is dome shaped and the dome is made of high grade transparent plastic acrylic sheet. This allows the patient to see through the dome and hence avoid being claustrophobic. This also enables the patient to have clear communication with his operator. He or she can easily communicate from the transparent dome if they feel any kind of discomfort. The chamber has an option of movable stretcher and an integrated stretcher. Both the stretchers are lined with cushioned bedding and pillows to keep the patient in utmost comfort. The chamber is sealed before oxygen pressure is released into the chamber.
This process of subjecting the patient to high pressure oxygen is to eliminate the disease or heal injury. Injuries need oxygen to heal fast. This therapy lets the tissues use the pure oxygen to heal the injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy often has short term side effects too. The side effects can be as simple as that felt in air travel or can be as severe as suffering short sightedness for a small duration of time. The treatment generally lasts for two hours. As the treatment nears completion the pressure in the chamber is slowly reduced to normal. This enables the body to come back to normal and adjust to the normal atmospheric pressure around. This kind of treatment is always an outpatient treatment as the duration of the treatment is very short. However there are a few rare cases where the patient is required to stay back in the hospital.
A monoplace hyperbaric chamber treatment is suggested to patients who may pose a risk of spreading their infection to others and need to be in isolation or simply sought by those patients who prefer their own space and privacy during a treatment.