By Axel Rulz-Tellez, MD
Professor Philip James, a leading expert on hyperbaric medicine, said it best, “Giving more oxygen is sound science and common sense. There is no substitute for oxygen.” Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been used to treat the following:
. Cardiovascular Disease
. Liver Disease
. Brain Injury
. Cerebral Palsy
. Alcohol & Drug Addiction
This treatment takes place in a special chamber, often called a pressure chamber. The goal is to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. Patients breath in 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure. The chamber is 2-3 times the normal atmospheric pressure; which helps saturate their hemoglobin. Oxygen plays a huge role in the healing and repairing of our bodies’ damaged cells.
Think about it. When you fall and get a cut on your knee, it heals more rapidly when air is allowed to reach the wound. This is no different than most other health-related cases.
Two different types of pressure chambers are used for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Multi-place and Mono-place. What is the difference? Multi-place chambers are used to treat multiple patients at the same time, while Mono-place chambers treat only one person at a time. Mono-place chambers are recommended for the elderly, disabled, and small children. A Mono-place chamber consists of a clear plastic tube that is roughly 7-8 feet long. The patient is asked to lie on a padded table that will eventually slide into the tube. During this procedure, all patients are asked to relax and breathe as normal as possible. Meanwhile, a Multi-place chamber involves the patients sitting up, having the oxygen delivered by mask. This chamber is pressurized with room air.
How did Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy evolve? The idea first came about in the early 1900’s. Orville Cunningham noticed that people who had heart disease were healthier when living closer to sea level, rather than at high altitudes. He began to treat a colleague of his with his newfound realization. He went on to develop the hypobaric chamber. Unfortunately, numerous failed attempts led to the approach being abandoned. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was picked back up in the 1950’s. It was redeveloped by the military to treat deep-sea divers who suffered from decompression sickness. This evolved into usage of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for heart and lung patients. By the 1960’s, the method was included for carbon monoxide poisoning. Over time, it has been discovered that many other illnesses can benefit from HBOT.
Where can I find Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? Southwest Florida is fortunate to have a facility that offers this treatment. A Hyperbaric Chamber can be found at Lehigh Regional’s Wound Care Center. If you have any questions regarding this treatment, you can contact them at (239) 369-6115. The center is located at 1530 Lee Blvd Ste. 1300 in Lehigh Acres.