Patient Guide to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Photo of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen?

Hyperbaric (hi-per-bare-ik) oxygen therapy provides oxygen to all parts of the body in amounts greater than possible under normal conditions. This is because 100 percent oxygen is given under increased atmospheric pressure in a special chamber. Hyperbaric treatment is well known for its use in underwater diving accidents, but it also has beneficial healing effects in other conditions:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Gas gangrene
  • Bone infection
  • Non-healing wounds

A doctor specializing in hyperbaric medicine will evaluate your condition and explain why hyperbaric oxygen is being given. This doctor works closely with your personal doctor to coordinate other medical care that you may need. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy must be used in conjunction with a total care program, including good nutrition and daily wound care.

A typical series of hyperbaric oxygen treatments can require as many as five to six visits a week for four to five weeks. Interruption of the series can reverse the healing benefits. Unless you are a hospitalized patient, this is a considerable time commitment for you and your family. The exact number of treatments will be determined by your response to hyperbaric oxygen therapy and you will be advised by the hyperbaric team as this information becomes available.

For more information, please call the Department of Hyperbaric Medicine at 410-328-6152. For all patient information, please call 410-328-9284.