About HBOT

What is HBOT?

Simply put, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the delivery of 100% oxygen IN A PRESSURIZED ENVIRONMENT.

Why is it helpful?

Because, as mounting evidence tells us, only through a pressurized environment will oxygen-starved tissues (as seen in instances of poor circulation) begin receiving the oxygen they need (tissue growth actually occurs).

At HOPE Connection, client-patients receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) sit comfortably in our multi-place or mono-chamber (we do not use flexible, collapsible chambers), breathing 100% oxygen in an increased atmospheric pressure environment. During your hour-long session, you can relax by watching movies, reading, or listening to music. Our certified chamber technologists monitor you from the control station. Through speakers and microphones, you will always be able to communicate easily to anyone waiting for you outside the chamber.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) is a method of administering pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure. Through this process, we deliver 10-15 times more oxygen than if delivered normally, without any pressure. The intended effects are: to promote the growth of new blood vessels, decrease swelling and inflammation, deactivate toxins, increase the body’s ability to fight infection, clear out toxins and metabolic waste products, and improve the rate of healing.

HBO (hyperbaric oxygen) at HOPE Connection is a complement to existing conventional therapy and treatments, and our goal is to complement your current wellness program by working with your doctor.

HBO is cost-effective, non-invasive, safe, and proven as a medical intervention and works very well with many other treatments.

For years, conventional medicine thought of HBO only as a treatment for decompression sickness, but HBO is becoming increasingly common in general practice, as more doctors are becoming trained and acquainted with its benefits. Doctors realize that HBO has other uses, including the treatment of hard-to-heal wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, various infections, countering damage caused by radiation treatments, near-drowning, near-hanging, brain and nerve disorders, cardiovascular disorders among many others. Bacterial (like E. Coli) infections are often combated by the use of HBO.

In the United States, 13 indications are approved for HBO, but because of insurance policies, only a few of these conditions are even administered.

We recommend you ask your doctor whether incorporating HBO into your regimen will help with your condition at all. Keep in mind, though, that most medical practitioners are learning about HBO for the first time now and may not have specific training in HBO. Therefore, if you find that your doctor is hearing about HBO for the first time from you, feel free to ask your HOPE representative for an information packet that you can give to your doctor; in it, you will find some of the most recently published medical studies regarding your condition and HBO. Let us know how we can help.

Approximately 66 conditions have benefited from HBO:

  • Stroke – The 1.7 million stroke survivors in this country often suffer devastating consequences, such as paralysis, a life in a wheelchair, and impairments in speech, recall, and memory. Studies have shown that these individuals will benefit from a series of 40-50 one-hour sessions in a chamber breathing 100% oxygen. Since the early 1970s, scientific journals have reported over 1,000 cases demonstrating a 40-100% rate of improvement for stroke patients treated with HBO.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – According to the CDC, each year an estimated 80,000 Americans (including returning soldiers) survive a hospitalization for TBI but are discharged with TBI-related disabilities. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living today with a TBI-related disability. After brain trauma from an accident, brain cells die or become dormant from lack of oxygen; it has been shown that any of these cells can be revived through hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO). The enormous amount of data supporting HBO as a viable treatment for brain injury (BI) (including concussions) has prompted the passage of legislation in Texas that allows for HBO for acquired brain injury (ABI) to be paid for by Medicare and insurance.
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP) – The term “cerebral palsy” describes children who experience brain trauma at birth. HBO can treat the underlying problem in children with CP (the damaged brain). The main differences between HBO and traditional therapies for CP are the rapid gains over time and the impact on cognitive skill improvements, which, in general, are not improved with only physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Many client-patients of HOPE Connection employ various types of therapy (including Conductive Education, as pioneered by Ability Camp in Canada).
  • Autism – There are numerous reports of HBO reducing aggression and improving communication in autistic patients. Stop by HOPE Connection today and you can meet a parent of an autistic child who is using HBO along with their current therapies.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – A debilitating nervous system disease, multiple sclerosis results in localized patches of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord which may eventually scar. There have been hundreds of treatments for MS. In fact, there has never been any disease in which so many treatments have been tried. Unfortunately, some of these treatments produce disastrous results. Of all the treatments ever administered, hyperbaric oxygen is the safest, most effective, and most cost-effective. Currently there are 12,000 MS patients being treated at 110 hyperbaric centers in the United Kingdom; our doctor will work with your physician in developing a protocol for you and your loved one.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & Fibromyalgia – Approximately 40 one-hour HBO sessions in succession have been shown to counter CFS symptoms in a majority of CFS and fibromyalgia clients-patients. Please take a look at eHOPE to learn more about what’s out there, and talk to your current medical doctor about the possibility of adding HBO to your wellness program.
  • Wound Healing – For the past 30 years, hundreds of studies have been published testifying to the remarkable healing of wounds with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HBO. Diabetic ulcers, burns, fractures and skin grafts, bone damage from radiation exposure, and healing from plastic surgery or sports injuries are being treated every day at your local hospital’s wound-care center – this is the major reason you are seeing so many hyperbaric chamber and HBO in general becoming more accepted by the medical profession. It’s a proven advancement and an excellent complement to current wellness programs. HOPE Connection provides a flexible schedule to accommodate patients already enrolled in a wound-care healing program under the direction of a qualified physician, so call us, or have your doctor call us, to discuss our flexibility and involvement in wound-care healing. HBO works and can be a wonderful tool in a comprehensive wound-healing program.
  • Diabetes – Some 14-24% of diabetic patients with ischemic lower-extremity ulcers will require an amputation. Despite much effort toward the prevention of amputation in the past decade, the incidence of lower-extremity amputation in such patients continues to rise. A study conducted in the UK found that HBO enhanced the healing potential of ischemic, non-healing, diabetic leg ulcers and may be used as a valuable adjunct to conventional therapy when reconstructive surgery is not possible.
  • Sports Injuries – HBO can significantly increase the rate of recovery for sports related injuries such as sprains and torn muscles. Please consult with your physician and work only with a qualified HBO facility with safety measures in place.
  • Cosmetic and Periodontal Surgery – HBO treatments administered pre- and post-surgery can reduce healing times up to 50%.
  • Increased Radiation Effectiveness – HBO improves radiation’s effectiveness, as shown in medical studies, and doctors often use HBO to help their patient fight cancer better!

Technical Details of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO)

Definition of HBO: A method used to treat a variety of ailments that are detailed herein. HBO is a treatment in which a patient BREATHES 100% oxygen under pressure (of greater than sea level or one atmosphere). This treatment can be carried out in one of two ways. Mono-place chambers are single-person chambers that are pressurized with air or 100% oxygen. Multi-place chambers are designed to hold two or more people, up to as many as 36. Both types may be pressurized with air while patients breathe oxygen via an oxygen mask or a hood for approximately one hour, during which the client-patient is delivered 100% oxygen.

Mechanisms of HBO Action: Increasing the partial pressure of oxygen is the main therapeutic value of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. When a client-patient breathes pure oxygen at 3 times atmospheric pressure, arterial oxygen pressures in excess of 2000 mmHb are possible. This is around 20 times higher than normal. This stops toxin production in gas gangrene and more rapidly displaces carbon monoxide, preventing possible neurological damage. In wound-healing, the diffusion of oxygen increases two to three times under hyperbaric conditions in the hypoperfused wound. This restores tissue oxygen tensions back to appropriate levels. Processes that are essential for wound-healing are oxygen dependent; fibroblast proliferation, collagen production, neovascularization and enhanced WBC function results in a rich vascular bed for healing with or without skin grafting.

Aminoglycoside effectiveness is promoted by increased oxygen tensions. HBO activates neutrophils to become “bactericidal maniacs.” HBO reduces reperfusion injury.

Mechanical Effects of Increased Pressure: Any free gas trapped in the body will decrease in volume as pressure exerted on it increases (Boyle’s Law). Reductions in bubble size may allow it to pass through the circulation, or at least travel into a smaller vessel, which will reduce the size of any resulting infarction. This effect is useful in the management of arterial gas embolism and decompression sickness.

Flooding the body with oxygen forces the rapid elimination of other gases, thus reducing damage caused by toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. The elevated pressures used during HBO further accelerate the elimination process. This is why many client-patients incorporate chelation along with HBO. Hyperbaric oxygen acts as an alpha-adrenergic drug. Vasoconstriction can result in reduction of edema following burns or crush injuries. Even with a reduction in blood flow, enough extra oxygen is carried by the blood so a net increase in tissue oxygen delivery occurs with HBO.

Anaerobic bacteria do not contain the natural defenses to protect them from the superoxides, peroxides and other compounds formed in the presence of high oxygen tensions. More important, many of the body’s bacterial defense mechanisms are oxygen dependent. When tissue partial pressure of oxygen drops too low, effective ingestion and killing by phagocytic leukocytes is retarded. Re-oxygenation of those tissues allows phagocytosis and other host defense mechanisms to come back into play.

Hyperbaric oxygen physically dissolves extra oxygen into the plasma (Henry’s Law). The quantity of oxygen carried and transferred to ischemic tissue by the blood is increased. Relieving the ischemia with this increased oxygenation promotes osteoclastic and osteoblastic activity, collagen matrix formation and the breakdown of many toxins. The extra oxygen also helps the ischemic tissue meet the increased metabolic need required by the healing processes.

Potential Risks Associated with HBO

Side Effects

As with any treatment, side effects are possible. However, with HBO they are minimal. The most common is barotrauma to the ears and sinuses caused by pressure changes. This is the same effect you will experience when you go up in an airplane, but not as extreme. Prior to all ‘dives,’ all clients-patients’ ears are checked by one of HOPE Connection’s certified chamber technologists.

You will be taught how to clear your ears prior to entering the hyperbaric chamber; on an airplane, you can swallow (parents ask their children to drink during their sessions for this reason) or you can hold your nose, close your mouth and slowly try to exhale, so you will be taught to do this during the HBO session. Decongestants may be helpful, but please tell your chamber technologist if you have recently had a cold or feel like you cannot ‘clear’ your ears. As in an airplane, the effect of ears ‘popping’ is temporary. In some cases, if a client-patient is unable to clear his or her ears, a doctor will discuss myringotomy tubes (a common procedure) with you, so that you can ‘dive’ at HOPE Connection .

Taken from a 10-year study of 1,505 patients who received 52,758 2-hour HBO treatments at 2.40 ATA (atmospheres absolute) once or twice daily (the maximum treatment protocol used for problem wounds around the world):

  • – Inability to equalize middle ear pressure 0.37%
  • – Paranasal sinus blocks 0.09%
  • – Confinement anxiety 0.05%
  • – Oxygen convulsions 0.009% (all ceased after removing hood/masks)
  • – Pulmonary oxygen toxicity 0.00%
  • – Permanent ocular refractive changes 0.00%
  • Other Side effects are More Rare:

  • – Oxygen toxicity can cause CNS (central nervous system) and pulmonary effects. Seizures occur rarely during treatment and are self-limiting. Seizures will cease when the client-patient is removed from breathing pure oxygen.
  • – Factors such as history of seizures, high temperature, acidosis and low blood sugar are taken into account before sessions can be started.
  • – Pulmonary oxygen toxicity may occur in patients who require supplemental oxygen between treatments. This is very rarely seen.
  • – Some client-patients may suffer claustrophobia, which is managed by maintaining communication, using relaxation techniques, and mild sedation, if necessary. Incidents of claustrophobia, however, are decreased by HOPE Connection’s large-diameter multi-place chamber.
  • – Patients develop temporary changes in eyesight; these are minor and occur only in those individuals who have large numbers of treatments. Vision returns to normal within eight weeks following the end of treatments.
  • – Patients with cataracts may experience accelerated maturation of the cataract, but the treatments do not cause cataract formation.

Contraindications

Anyone with any of the following conditions may not be a suitable candidate for HBO (this is why we work so closely with your current medical doctor):

  • Asthma – Small airway hyper-reactivity may result in air trapping and pulmonary barotrauma on ascent. A decision to treat such patients should not be undertaken lightly, particularly in light of evidence that the administration of some bronchodilators may increase the incidence of cerebral arterial gas embolism through pulmonary vasodilation.
  • Congenital Spherocytosis – Such patients have fragile red cells and HBO may result in massive haemolysis.
  • Cisplatinum – There is some evidence that this drug retards wound healing when combined with HBO.
  • Disulphiram (Antabuse) – There is evidence to suggest that this drug blocks the production of suproxide dismutase and this may severely affect the body’s defenses against oxygen free radicals. NOTE: Experimental evidence suggests that a single exposure to HBO is safe but that subsequent sessions may be unwise.
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) – This chemotherapeutic agent becomes increasingly toxic under pressure and animal studies suggest at least a one week break between sessions.
  • Emphysema with carbon dioxide retention – Caution should be exercised in giving high pressures and concentrations of 100% oxygen to client-patients who may be existing on the hypoxic drive to ventilation. Such patients may become apnoeic in the chamber and require IPPV. In addition, gas trapping and subsequent lung rupture are associated with bullous disease.
  • High Fevers – Highfevers (>38.5degrees Celsius) tend to lower the seizure threshold due to oxygen toxicity and may result in the delaying of relatively routine therapy. As part of HOPE Connection’s pre-dive checklist, we check client-patients’ temperatures.
  • History of middle ear surgery or disorders
  • Client-patients who cannot clear their ears risk further injury, and an ENT consult through your current physician, is necessary. Please notify the HOPE staff of any prior history of ear surgery or ENT disorder.
  • History of seizures – HBO may lower the seizure threshold, and some workers advocate increasing the baseline medication for such patients.
  • Optic Neuritis – There have been reports in patients with a history of optic neuritis of failing sight and even blindness after HBO. This complaint would seem to be extremely rare but of tragic consequence.
  • Pneumothorax – A pocket of trapped gas in the pleura will decrease in volume on compression and re-expand on surfacing during an HBO session. During oxygen breathing at depth, nitrogen will be absorbed from the space and replaced with oxygen. These fluxes of gases and absolute changes in volume may result in further lung damage and or arterial gas embolization. If there is a communication between lung and pneumothorax with a tension component, then a potentially dangerous situation exists as the patient is brought to the surface. As Boyle’s Law predicts, a 1.8 liter pneumothorax at 20 msw (meters of sea water) is potentially a 6 liter pneumothorax at sea level, certainly a life-threatening situation. Particular care must be taken with patients who give a history of chest trauma or thoracic surgery.
  • Pregnancy – HOPE Connection prohibits pregnant women from using its chambers.
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections – These are relative contra-indications due to the difficulty such patients may have in clearing their ears and sinuses. Elective treatment may be best postponed for a few days in such cases.
  • Viral Infections – Many workers in the past have expressed concern that viral infections may be considerably worsened after HBO. There have been no studies to give convincing evidence of this and no reported activation of herpetic lesions associated with HBO.
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