You’ve probably heard about a hyperbaric chamber, but do you really know what it is? In this article, we will be driving a little bit into this helping you understand what this chamber really is.
A hyperbaric chamber, in simple terms, is a device used to perform hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to a person. This therapy involves breathing almost pure oxygen in a small chamber (hyperbaric chamber) or special room.
This therapy is mainly used in treating illnesses brought about by diving. However, it has also been said to enhance healing in patients suffering from a number of other conditions.
The first hyperbaric chamber was built by a physician in 1662. The chamber was basically a sealed room designed with a series of valves and bellows inside. The inventor of this chamber believed that pressure could be used in treating some respiratory conditions.
HBOT was introduced in the United States military in the 1940s as standard treatment for its divers.
Currently, there are about 1,200 HBOT centers in the United States. Of these, only two are dedicated to treating injuries sustained due to diving. This is according to the Divers Alert Network (DAN).
HBOT has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of 13 medical conditions. However, people are not satisfied with this and are requesting the FDA to make further approvals.
Below are some of the therapeutic uses of hyperbaric oxygen treatment:
Problems related to diving
This therapeutic method, as mentioned above, is used in the treatment of some diving-related problems that we will discuss below.
A diver who surfaces too quickly faces the risk of developing decompression illness (DCI). This illness is caused by the formation of air bubbles which end up expanding in the body. Other terms used to refer to this illness include air gas embolism and decompression sickness (DCS).
When left untreated, these illnesses can become life threatening within a very short period of time and in most cases, within a few hours. DCI can be treated by:
– Spending time in a decompression chamber
– Receiving oxygen
What happens during hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the patient pressure is returned to the same level as the one they were diving in. This allows the patient’s body to gradually decompress, therefore, reducing the volume of bubbles within it.
Statistics indicate that at least 1,000 divers from the United States are affected with DCI every year.
Other approved uses
The FDA have approved HBOT to help treat:
– A gas or an air embolism
– Some types of sinus and brain infections
– Anemia due to severe blood loss
– Skin grafts
– Burns resulting from fire or heat
– Carbon monoxide poisoning
– Necrotizing soft tissue infections
– Osteomyelitis, a type of bone marrow infection
– Low blood flow in the arteries (arterial insufficiency)
– Acute traumatic ischemia,
– Gas gangrene
– Injury resulting from radiation, for example due to cancer treatment
You should be worried about how safe and effective these uses are. In fact, Medicare and most insurance companies cover the cost of HBOT treatments that are approved by the FDA.
Looking for this treatment? Look at this hyperbaric chamber near me.