What to Expect During Treatment
What are the chambers like? What does it feel like in there?
In a mono-place chamber, the patient lies on a stretcher that slides into a large acrylic tube. This tube is then pressurized with 100% oxygen.
HBO2 therapy is painless. In a mono-place chamber, the patient lies down comfortably and may listen to music, watch television, or even take a nap during the therapy session. They may feel fullness in their ears as they adjust to changes in air pressure at the start of the session. This is similar to what a patient feels in an airplane when landing.
What if the patient has low blood glucose while in the chamber?
Patients with diabetes have their blood glucose levels checked before entering the HBO2 chamber. Then, they can have a snack, if needed, to prevent low blood glucose.
If the patient feels symptoms of low blood glucose or need any other kind of help, they can communicate with the attendants.
HBO2 therapy chambers are monitored from the outside by people using advanced controls and computer systems. Mono-place chambers have two-way intercom systems so that patients can speak with attendants outside the chamber.
Do patients have to do anything special to prepare for HBO2 Therapy?
There are several things to consider before starting HBO2 therapy:
- Smoking: Nicotine makes blood vessels narrow. This limits the flow of blood and oxygen. Therefore, you should not use tobacco until all your HBO2 treatments are completed.
- Medications: Some medicines change the way your body handles oxygen. It is important for patients to tell their health care team about all their medications, including any nonprescription drugs.
- Report Illnesses: Cold or flu symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, headache or body aches may cause a delay in your treatment. These symptoms should be reported to your team as soon as possible.
- Clothing: Patients will be given special clothes to wear during therapy.
- Wound Dressings: There is no added benefit from oxygen coming into contact with the skin. Therefore, wound dressings are left on during treatments.
- Personal Items: Most personal belongings aren’t allowed in the HBO2 chamber. Don’t bring in:
- Tobacco products, matches or lighters
- Jewelry or other metal objects
- Electronic items, such as stereos or games
- Hair spray, make up, perfumes, deodorants or lotions
- Dentures or partial plates
- Contact lenses
- Claustrophobia: If the fear of closed-in places is a problem, physicians may prescribe patients medication to relax them.
How long will I get this therapy?
Most wounds require 30-40 HBO2 treatments. The treatments are usually given daily, 5-6 days per week, for 90 minutes. As the health care team, you will decide how many treatments your patients need.
Are there any side effects?
Some patients report crackling or popping in their ears between visits. This can be eased by using the same tips shown for dealing with ear problems while in the chamber. Patients may have to have tubes put in their ears to relieve ear pain.
Rarely, patients having HBO2 therapy have temporary changes in eyesight. If this happens, vision will return to normal within 6-8 weeks.
For more information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and its uses, go to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society: http://membership.uhms.org/