Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the systematic delivery of oxygen at values two to three times greater than atmospheric pressure. Patients are placed in a chamber and breathe 100 percent oxygen while exposed to elevated ambient pressures.

Patient Referral – Consultation Procedures

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be offered as a consultation service. Patients are evaluated through referral by their attending physician. Treatment regimens and other recommendations are communicated to the referring/primary care physician who remains responsible for the patient’s general medical management. Successful therapy requires a multidisciplinary approach to care.

Treatment Protocols

Oxygen delivered under increased atmospheric pressure becomes a potent drug. Hyperbaric oxygen must be administered carefully to avoid toxic effects.

The patient’s clinical response often dictates the number of treatments that may be required. Non-healing wounds such as chronic refractory osteomyelitis, osteoradionecrosis or soft tissue radiation may require 20–40 treatments, while compromised surgical flaps/split thickness skin graft may require only ten.

Hyperbaric therapy treatments generally last about two hours. Treatments are administered once or twice a day on an inpatient or outpatient basis. During hyperbaric therapy, patients may watch television, listen to the radio or converse with visitors and staff. Relaxation techniques can be utilized to help ease confinement anxiety.

Physiological Basis of Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy utilizes a variety of action mechanisms. Some action mechanisms are related directly to elevated pressures; others are related to increased oxygen effects in the blood stream, tissues and cells.

Chamber pressure above sea level results in:

  • A 200% surface equivalent of oxygen delivered to the patient through normal respiration. This significant increase in oxygen tension can allow a ten-fold increase to chronic wound tissues.

The effects of increased oxygen tensions are seen in a variety of different situations:

  • The reduction of edema in the wound areas
  • Stimulates the body’s own natural resources to grow new micro blood vessels (angiogenesis)
  • Increase in oxygen diffusion in the hypoperfused wound; the resulting stimulation enhances healing in skin grafts, selected problem wounds and compromised flaps
  • Stimulation of the body’s immune response by leukocytic activity, providing an excellent adjuvant to IV antibiotic and local wound care
  • The inhibition of alpha toxin production by the clostridial organisms in gas gangrene 

Hyperbaric Medical Staff

Our two monoplace hyperbaric chambers are staffed by hyperbaric-certified nurses and a board-certified hyperbaric physician. Therapeutic services are provided for electively referred outpatients and medically complex inpatients requiring long-term acute care.

  • Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy
  • Coordination of interdisciplinary services including surgery, respiratory therapy, physical and occupational therapy, dietary and wound care management
  • Transcutaneous oxygen monitoring 

Treatment Indications and Insurance CoverageThese cases are approved by CMS and are recognized by Medicare and most other third party payers. Preauthorization is obtained prior to initiation of treatment.