Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Definition 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses a special chamber, sometimes called a pressure chamber, to allow a a person to breathe 100% oxygen. This means that the air inside the pressurized chamber is typically 2 1/2 times greater than normal atomospheric pressure. This leads to your blood carrying larger amounts of oxygen and bringing this oxygen to organs and tissues in the body. By doing so, wounds, particularly infected wounds, can heal more readily.

Some of the conditions for which hyperbaric therapy can be helpful include:

     
  • gas gangrene  
  • decompression sickness (for example, a diving injury)  
  • air or gas embolism  
  • carbon monoxide poisoning  
  • wound healing (for example, a foot ulcer in someone with diabetes or very bad circulation)  
  • necrotizing soft tissue infections  
  • osteomyelitis (bone infection)  
  • radiation injuries (for example, damage to skin, other soft tissue, or bones from radiation therapy for cancer)  
  • skin grafts and flaps  
  • burns

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

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