DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, Devon

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Hyperbaric Medicine for Patients

Two major bodies in the northern hemisphere review the evidence and make recommendations regarding appropriate medical conditions for which hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) may be used; the European Committee for Hyperbaric Medicine (ECHM) and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS)

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) therapy is a means of providing additional oxygen to body tissues. 'Hyper' means increased and 'baric' relates to pressure. Oxygen makes up 21% of the air that we ordinarily breathe. During HBO treatment the patient breathes 100% Oxygen intermittently, usually through a hood or a mask, whilst inside a pressurised chamber.Breathing 100% Oxygen under pressure causes oxygen top be dissolved into plasm, the liquid part of the blood. By intermittently increasing the amount of Oxygen in the tissues the healing process is enhanced.

HBO can encourage new growth of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, increases the ability of the body to fight infection and kill bacteria and can reduce swelling.

What happens when I come in for treatment?

If you are preparing to come to DDRC Healthcare for possible treatment, please be aware that once your referral has been reviewed and accepted, a nurse will be in touch to talk to you about everything and to answer any questions that you may have. You will also be sent a letter and a copy of our Patient Guide.

Finally, if you are a smoker, it is never too late to stop smoking and plenty of help is avaialble to support you if you take that decision. A person continuing to smoke gains less benefit from HBO than someone who does not smoke.

How does HBO help different medical conditions?

Please click on each of the medical conditions below for more information.

  1. Gas Embolism
  2. Decompression Illness (DCI)
  3. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  4. Poor wound healing, including diabetic wounds
  5. Compromised grafts and flaps
  6. Long-term side effects of radiotherapy
  7. Necrotising soft tissue infections (including Clostridial Myonecrosis - Gas Gangrene)
  8. Osteomyelitis (Refractory and including Malignant Otitis Externa)
  9. Crush injury, Compartment Syndrome and other acute traumatic ischaemias
  10. Acute thermal burn injury
  11. Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  12. Central retinal artery occlusion
  13. Severe anaemia
  14. Intracranial abscess

There are some conditions that we DO NOT treat as the evidence base is not great enough to justify the treatment process. Those conditions can be found here.


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