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Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100% pure oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber. The air pressure inside the chamber is about two and a half times greater than the atmosphere's normal pressure. This “hyperbaric” (or high pressure) dose of oxygen helps your blood carry more oxygen to your organs and tissues to promote wound healing. It also activates the white blood cells to fight infection.

Patients typically receive HBO therapy 5 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks. One treatment takes about 2 hours and is quite comfortable for most patients.

Wounds Treated With HBO

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used as part of the treatment for certain conditions, including:

  • Non-healing wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers
  • Chronic bone infection (chronic refractory osteomyelitis)
  • Injury to skin or bone as a side effect from radiation therapy
  • Non-healing skin grafts and flaps
  • Crush injuries
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Central retinal artery occlusion

Preparing for HBO

An Antelope Valley Medical Center staff member will tell you how many treatments you will need. During your treatment, you may watch television, a movie, or take a nap. You will be given a hospital gown to wear in the chamber. No cosmetics, perfumes, hair preparations, deodorants, wigs, jewelry, or electronic devices are allowed in the chamber. Most pacemakers are allowed in the chamber. The hyperbaric technologist will need to know if you are taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs. You are advised not to drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for 4 hours before treatment.

Smoking and the use of tobacco products interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Therefore, your doctor will work with you on techniques to help stop smoking during the treatment period.

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