What conditions are treated with a hyperbaric chamber?
Oxygen therapy finds applications in the treatment of a number of medical conditions. In most cases, oxygen therapy is normobaric, which means that it involves the supply of oxygen at normal pressure levels. A specialized form of oxygen treatment, hyperbaric therapy, however, involves placing patients in an environment of high-pressure oxygen in a special enclosure called a hyperbaric chamber.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is beneficial for the way it forces the blood to absorb 10 to 20 times as much oxygen as it usually does at standard atmospheric pressure. Clinical studies involving human and animal subjects have revealed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps inflammation and swelling, helps promote the formation of new blood vessels in tissue, and aids in the healing of wounds.
If you’re curious about the different ways in which hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps the health, read below.
A Hyperbaric Chamber treats the following conditions:
- Skin Ulcers
- Burn Conditions
- Tissue Infections
In a month-long study of 35 patients with skin ulcers, daily hyperbaric oxygen therapy was shown to improve speed of healing in four out of five patients. In another study that involved 146 patients with diabetic foot ulcers, hyperbaric oxygen therapy was found to shorten the treatment duration for every patient.
Research involving hundreds of burn patients has shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy results in shorter recovery times. According to a h in severe burns, burn victims, as they heal, tend to suffer infections at far lower rates when a hyperbaric chamber is a part of the treatment plan.
Some people who suffer from anemia tend to be unable to accept blood transfusions. Immunological reasons and lack of availability tend to be common challenges. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, however, has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of severe anemia, especially when it is applied early.
The term ischemia is used to describe a category of conditions that involve damage to tissues resulting from poor supply of oxygen. Heart attacks are the most widely recognized form of ischemia — they involve tissue death in the heart from of a lack of oxygen. Ischemia, when it occurs in the brain, can lead to a stroke. Treatment in hyperbaric oxygen chambers has been shown to help with both kinds of ischemia. In one study, titled Hyperbaric oxygen induces late neuroplasticity in post stroke patients, 72 victims of stroke were treated with dozens of sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It was found that they experienced less damage to the brain and nerves than study subjects who didn’t receive such treatment.
Recurrent infections that destroy soft tissues and bone can be hard to treat with conventional treatment methods. A review (Hyperbaric oxygen treatment outcome for different indications from a single center) of dozens of patient reports, however, has found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy consistently helps patients get better faster, with fewer occurrences of relapse.
Off-label applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of a number of other health conditions. Patients who suffer from a form of vision loss that results from obstruction of blood supply in the eye, are often helped by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The treatment is known to reverse vision loss in these cases. The pain of fibromyalgia, and complex regional pain syndrome are often seen to recede with treatment with pressurized oxygen, as well. Patients are seen to experience reduced dependence on painkillers.
Patients who suffer from traumatic brain injuries are often seen to recover as a result of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In one case, for example, a toddler who suffered brain damage from nearly drowning, was seen to regain lost brain tissue after a month of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Treatment, when it is immediate, is seen to help.
Exposure to oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber is known to help with certain kinds of hearing loss connected to nerve damage, in the treatment of fungal infections, and even with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Improved cognition and memory are observed in patients who suffer from certain kinds of dementia.
In most cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is safe and free from side-effects. It is only rarely that patients tend to be at risk of asthma-like symptoms, lung inflammation, or oxidative stress. In nearly every case, this is therapy that greatly enhances health.