OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bloomington, Illinois

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

An advanced treatment option available at the OSF Wound Care Clinic may include hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

The Clinic recently expanded to accommodate two bariatric hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) chambers – the Sechrist 4100H model – which aid the healing process of non-healing wounds.

These bariatric chambers help individuals who are claustrophobic or obese. They hold up to 700 pounds, where typical chambers hold up to 450 pounds.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

HBOT is a medical treatment in which the patient is entirely enclosed in a pressure chamber, breathing 100 percent pure oxygen at greater than one-atmosphere pressure.

Air contains nearly 21 percent oxygen and approximately 78 percent nitrogen. In HBOT, the oxygen percentage breathed by the patient is close to or at 100 percent, almost five times more than in air.

The pressure of the patient's oxygen breathed in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is usually more than 1.5 times (and can be as much as 3 times) greater than atmospheric pressure.

The therapy can deliver nearly 15 times as much oxygen as there is in the air at standard pressure.

How Does It Help Heal Wounds?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps wound healing by bringing oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved for oxygen.

Wound injuries damage the body's blood vessels, which release fluid that leaks into the tissues and causes swelling. This swelling deprives the damaged cells of oxygen, and tissue starts to die.

The elevated pressure in the chamber increases the amount of oxygen in the blood in order to break the cycle of swelling, oxygen starvation and tissue death.

What to Expect

Use of the chambers usually involves 90-minute treatment times; patients are seen five days per week for 4-6 weeks, depending upon the treatment plan.

Who Should Get Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not for everyone.

It should not be used by people who have had recent ear surgery or ear trauma, a cold or fever, or certain types of lung disease.

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