With the exception of decompression sickness and cerebral arterial gas embolism, treatments last approximately two hours. Treatments are given 5 days per week, unless otherwise indicated. The total number of treatments ordered depends on the diagnosis and the severity of each individual case. For some acute cases, treatment times are approximately ten days, while more chronic cases may require thirty or more treatments.
What To Expect
Hyberbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be administered in either an acrylic monoplace chamber or a multiplace chamber. While in the chamber you will breathe 100% oxygen while subject to increased atmospheric pressure. There is very little sensation while undergoing HBOT therapy. During pressurization you will get a “fullness” buildup in your ears as a result of the pressure change. This feeling is similar to diving down to the bottom of a swimming pool, driving through the mountains or flying in a plane. The hyperbaric staff will show you how to relieve this fullness so that you can avoid discomfort during your treatment.
Once the treatment begins, you will hear a hissing sound as the chamber pressurizes. You may also notice a temporary increase in temperature during this compression. A staff member will remain with you to adjust the rate of compression according to your tolerance and coach you on relieving the full sensation in your ears. The compression phase of the treatment generally lasts about 10-15 minutes, depending upon how effective you are in clearing your ears. Once you are at the prescribed pressure in the chamber, your ear pressure sensation will go away. You should feel absolutely normal at this time.
You may watch television, listen to music, sleep, or just rest during the remainder of the treatment, which usually lasts one – two hours. We have cable, Netflix, and a DVD player with a library of popular movies. Or you can bring in your own. At the end of your treatment, the pressure will gradually decrease as the hyperbaric chamber ascends over a period of 10-15 minutes. During this decompression you will experience a popping sensation in your ears as a result of the decreasing pressure. This popping is a normal adjustment inside your ears.
Generally, you experience no after effects from HBOT therapy. However, some patients report a crackling sensation in their ears between treatments. This may be relieved in the same manner as clearing your ears during compression. If the crackling should continue, please report this to the hyperbaric staff. Additionally, some patients report feeling light headed for a few moments following treatment, but the episode is brief and the patients are soon able to continue with their normal daily activity.