Frequently Asked Questions about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
What is HBOT? (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy)
Like most medical terminology, the word hyperbaric comes from the Latin root words, "hyper", and "baric". Hyper meaning an increase in quantity, or quality, and baric meaning pressure. Oxygen plays a vital role in the healing process. Every cell in our body requires oxygen to function, and carry out their duties of staving off disease & infection.
HBOT is the inhalation of 100% medical grade oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressure, inside a Hyperbaric Chamber.
How does HBOT work?
In HBOT the arterial oxygen pressures increase up to 15 times. This engages a series of beneficial mechanisms of action: Hyperoxygenation (increased oxygen supply), Antimicrobial effect (killing of anaerobic pathogens), Proliferation of Fibroblasts (responsible for the production and repair of tissue and collagen), Hyperactivation of Leukocytes (responsible for removing excess dead cell wastes), Vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), Angioneogenesis (the growth of new micro blood vessels), Hyperactivation of Stem Cells.
Are there any side effects?
There are some minimal possible side effects. The most common side effect is barotraumas, which is caused by an inability to clear the ears during the pressurization of the Hyperbaric Chamber. All patients are trained by our staff, how to use multiple different ear clearing techniques, to avoid any complications. Oxygen Toxicity is possible, but usually seen at pressures greater than 2 Atmospheres.
What will I experience during treatment?
The patient will enter the chamber, and the technician will begin introducing compressed air into the chamber. This process is done slowly, so as to insure that no ear discomfort occurs. The chamber occupants are now being placed under greater than normal atmospheric pressure, (if you have ridden in commercial airplane, you have ridden in a hyperbaric chamber); this increase in pressure will allow a greater amount of oxygen to be delivered to the body. Once the chamber reaches its target treatment depth, the oxygen hoods will be secured and 100% oxygen will be delivered via the O2 hood. Average duration of treatment is 75 minutes, depending on the treatment protocol prescribed. Next the chamber is decompressed and the treatment session has ended.
How often will I have treatment?
HBOT is most effective when delivered on a consecutive daily basis (Monday-Friday with a break on the weekend), for the duration of the prescribed number of treatments.
Exceptions are made whenever a patient is infected with a cold virus or any contagious disease. High fever greater than 38.5 C should not be exposed to HBOT because it increases the possibility of seizures from O2 toxicity.
Will my insurance pay for it?
At this time only conditions on the FDA approved list are reimbursable through insurance. For off-label conditions we encourage patients to attempt submitting for reimbursement. What will help this process is if the patients' doctor is either writing the prescription and or documenting the effects of this treatment in their patient records, along with this, a bill and the insurance codes, you can attempt submitting to your carrier.