I had a few sessions in 1977 in San Francisco. The theme for me then was preventive.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the intermittent inhalation of 100% oxygen at pressures greater than at sea level. The technique may be implemented in a multiplace chamber (usually a large steel cylinder) pressurized with air while the patient breathes 100% oxygen. Alternatively, a monoplace (1-person) chamber, pressurized with 100% oxygen, may be utilized.
In either situation, the arterial pO2 will approach 1500mm Hg at the pressure equivalent of 33 ft of sea water (2 ATA): less depth is possible but this decreases its effectiveness and increase the time needed for treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen is the treatment of choice for decompression sickness ("the bends") and arterial gas embolism.
It has been a useful adjunct in the treatment of gas gangrene, osteomyelitis, radiation damage, severe carbon monoxide poisoning, lyme disease, certain forms of brain damage, anaerobic infections, and immune compromising conditions.
How does it work?
Normally, the air we breath is 21 percent oxygen. During HBO, you will breath pure oxygen (100 Percent) and the pressure surrounding your body will be slowly increased to two or three times sea level.
The increased oxygen you breathe and absorb though your skin and into your bone marrow will also increase the oxygen your blood carries to body tissues. This abundance of oxygen in your tissues enhances the repair of tissue damage.
Oxygen inhaled at pressures greater than room air pressure dissolves in plasma. At the pressure equivalent of 3 ATA (66 ft of sea water) an arterial pO2 of 1900 to 2100mm Hg may be achieved. Up to 6.8 vol% of oxygen may be forced into solution, a quantity sufficient to maintain tissue viability in the absence of hemoglobin.
Normal tissue O2 tensions vary widely and depend on rate of local blood flow, capillary density, cellular metabolic rate, pH, and arterial O2 content. Ventilation with 100% oxygen at sea level can raise the O2 tissue level to approximately 2 vol%. High tissue oxygen levels can be achieved only with hyperbaric oxygen.
What is the mechanical effect of increased pressure?
Any free gas trapped in the body will decrease in volume as pressure exerted on it increases (Boyle's Law). Reduction 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 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 hyperbaric oxygen therapy further accelerates the elimination process.
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 hyperbaric oxygen.
Anaerobic bacteria don't 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 pO2 drops too low, effective ingestion and killing by phagocytic leukocytes is retarded. Reoxygenation 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 healing processes.
Are there any complications or side effects?
There are three risk factors:
- The absence of exertion can permit imbalances in respiratory gas exchange in CO2 and O2. Problems are rare - but can occur in extremely health compromised individuals.
- Too rapid increases or decreases in pressure can cause pain or injury in air-compartments in the body specifically the ears or lungs. Users should not hold their breath during depressurization, just like divers should exhale during ascent.
- Nitrogen dissolves into the blood. Medical hyperbaric users are usually advised not to travel by air for 24 hours to avoid the bends.
Taken from a 10 year study of 1,505 patients who received 52,758 2-hour HBO tx at 2.4 at 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 hoods/masks)
- pulmonary oxygen toxicity - 0.00%
- permanent ocular refractive changes
So. How much is enough?
Acquired naturally, how much gold is enough?
How much is too much?
As a practical matter, unless you have severe lung dysfunction, it is almost impossible to get too much oxygen. Too little oxygen is almost always the case. The technicians operating the hard chambers have strict guidelines to ensure safe parameters. I have been in several myself including one at Charlotte Metro Hyperbarics.
Meet Dr. Danielle Rose, Former Medical Director of Charlotte Metro Hyperbaric, recent winner of "THE HYPERBARIC CLINIC OF THE YEAR AWARD” from THE INTERNATIONAL HBOT SYMPOSIUM in Irvine California 2010 Now known (2104) as gracieshopehyperbarics.com
Indications For Usage
- Air or gas embolism
- Decompression sickness (the bends)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation
- Gas gangrene
- Crush injury and traumatic wounds
- Problem wounds
- Compromised skin grafts, flaps and replants
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Refractory osteomyelitis
- Radiation tissue damage
- Thermal burns
- Exceptional blood loss anemia
- Adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen in intracranial abcess
- Post heart attack rehabilitation
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Preventive medicine
- Cerebral palsy and some other brain damage issue
For More Information:
- DAN (Divers Alert Network) - Dive Safety Information & Training
- Online Body Trends - Portable Hyperbaric and great O2 info
- Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
- California Hyperbarics
I strongly suggest that the hyperbaric industry develops the breathing before, during, or after these sessions to maximize their benefits. click here
Due to a recent survey "We know oxygen is critical to brain function and has often been connected with partial to complete recovery from strokes. Regarding those with stroke history do you feel that our O2E2 Oxygen Enhanced Exercise and Rest has helped your condition in any way?" of our O2E2 users I learned that 37.5% of the people who responded felt that O2E2 was "very, very helpful" and 37.5% answered "moderately helpful"
With the recent addition of our oxygen reservoir bags we strongly suspect the increased oxygen volume to be much more effective for those that can exercise.