Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are most commonly used during hyperbaric oxygen therapy which is used to treat an array of conditions. However, one of the more frequent uses for these chambers is for diving-related illnesses. Depending on the status and treatment required, many patients start with 20 treatments lasting for about 90-120 minutes.
The concept behind it is to have patients breathing more oxygen than they would in a natural environment. The air humans breathe daily is roughly 20-22 percent oxygen, but in hyperbaric oxygen chambers, patients are breathing approximately 220 percent oxygen. This helps to treat diving-related illnesses such as decompression illness for divers who surface too early, carbon monoxide poisoning, infections, osteomyelitis, and so on. There are plenty of other cases hyperbaric oxygen chambers treat, but these are some of the more common ones.
How it Works
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers, such as the ones at Hyperbaric Centers Of Texas, work by delivering more oxygen to a patient through a controlled environment. Professionals control the oxygen levels from outside based on the need of the patient. Often, while conditions leading to use may be different, there are similar factors. One of the primary functions of hyperbaric oxygen chambers is to help oxygen delivered to the body’s tissues.
As such, the chamber aids the body in flooding the tissues with more oxygen than it is used to in a natural environment — about 10 times more as a matter of fact. Damaged tissue often leads to swelling in the patient, which is why the tissue becomes oxygen-deprived. As swelling occurs, it damages the cells of oxygen within which inevitably leads to dying tissue.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers work to reduce swelling in part through the pressurization of the chamber as well as to give the tissue enough oxygen to begin healing. Furthermore, the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps to prevent what is known as reperfusion injury. When the body’s tissues have been cut off from oxygen due to any of the instances mentioned above or for a variety of other reasons, it can be dangerous to flood the body with oxygen. While it helps in the short-term, severe tissue damage is possible because of these rapid changes.
Luckily, manufacturers produce these chambers with that in mind. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers aid the body in getting rid of molecules that encourage reperfusion injury. Without these “negative” molecules in the tissue, reperfusion injury does not happen, and it allows the body to heal effectively.
Different Types of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
Two primary hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used in the therapeutic process. Both have the same goal in mind, but they do have slightly different functions. The first type of chamber is known as a monoplace chamber which fits one person. It looks very similar to an MRI machine.
The second type is a multiplace chamber, which fits two or more people at the same time. While it does serve the same purpose as a monoplace chamber, patients using a multiplace chamber breath pure oxygen through hoods or masks.
It should go without saying that hyperbaric oxygen chambers are not for everyone as the therapeutic process is very focused on treating several issues. Those who received ear surgery recently should stay away from them, as well as people with lung disease(s).
Common side effects of using hyperbaric oxygen chambers include feelings of lightheadedness and headaches. As oxygen floods the body, the patient’s body may not know how to react, and it is common to feel these types of side effects in the head. Furthermore, fatigue and claustrophobia are common side effects after using hyperbaric oxygen chambers.
Check with your healthcare provider to see if using hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help you. Be sure to consider possible risks and benefits before use after a detailed talk with your healthcare provider to understand how it may affect you.