Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
(Hyperbaric Oxygenation; Hyperbarics; Hyperbaric Medicine; HBOT; HBO2)
Pronounced: hi-purr-BEAR-ick ox-a-jen the-ra-pee
by Annie Stuart
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves breathing 100% oxygen in a sealed chamber. This concentration is five times higher than the normal air we breathe. The chamber is also pressurized to create 1.5 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure. These changes can improve blood circulation and the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
This procedure has been used to treat many health problems, including:
Possible Complications TOP
If you are planning to have HBOT, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Description of the Procedure
You will lie down on a padded table, which slides into a tube. This is called a single-person chamber. In some cases, the chamber may be large, holding more than a dozen people.
A technician will gradually pressurize the chamber with 100% oxygen. You will be able to talk to this person. While in the chamber, you will be instructed to:
If you are at high risk for oxygen toxicity, you may be allowed to breathe regular air for brief periods.
Immediately After Procedure TOP
Over a period of several minutes, the technician will slowly depressurize the chamber. You will likely have some ear popping and feel light-headed and tired. However, you should be able to go back to your daily activities. You may have more than one session over a period of several days.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
½ hour to 2 hours
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
You will not have any pain. Your ears may feel full.
Average Hospital Stay TOP
Unless you have another medical condition, you will be able to go home after HBOT.
Post-procedure Care TOP
In most cases, there is no special care after treatment. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Divers Alert Network
The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
Greensmith. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. University of Iowa Virtual Hospital website. Available at: http://www.uihealthcare.org/hyperbaricmedicine/ . Updated August 2007. Accessed September 7, 2009.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.... . Updated November 2008. Accessed September 7, 2009.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Mayo Clinic.com website. Available at: http://www.mayocli... . Updated October 2009. Accessed November 18, 2010.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/15/2014