Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses a special chamber, sometimes called a pressure chamber, to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Some, but not very many, hospitals have a hyperbaric chamber. Smaller units may be available in outpatient center.
The air pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This helps your blood carry more oxygen to organs and tissues in your body.
Hyperbaric therapy can help wounds, especially infected wounds, heal more quickly. The therapy may be used to treat:
Wounds that have not healed with other treatments (for example, it may be used to treat a foot ulcer in someone with diabetes or very bad circulation)
Treatments for chronic conditions may be repeated over days or weeks. A treatment session for more acute conditions such as decompression sickness may be longer but not necessarily repeated.
Christiani DC. Physical and chemical injuries of the lung. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 94.
Rabinowitz RP, Caplan ES. Hyperbaric oxygen. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 43.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.