What is HBO Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy (or HBOT) is a medical therapeutic process, which enhances the natural healing of the human body through inhalation of 100% oxygen in a closed chamber with controlled atmospheric pressure. A hyperbaric chamber Is used to administer the HBO therapy using which the patient breathes 100% oxygen.In HBOT, the ambient pressure of the body chamber is kept greater than the atmospheric pressure at sea level. This reduces the harmful effects of systemic gas bubbles by reducing their physical size and improving the conditions for eliminating the bubbles and excessive dissolved gases.

How does HBOT work?

The patient is kept in a transparent monoplace or multiplace chamber. A monoplace chamber is used to treat a single patient and is surrounded with 100% oxygen. A multiplace chamber is designed to fit several patients at the same time, and the oxygen is delivered using a mask or hood to the patient, who can either sit or lie in this chamber.

In a normal human body, only the red blood corpuscles perform the task of circulating oxygen throughout the body cells. Using HBOT, oxygen gets dissolved in multiple body parts including the body fluids, plasma, and the central nervous system fluids. This improves the circulation of healthy oxygen to body areas where the circulation is limited or damaged, thus enhancing the natural healing process of the body.

An increased supply of oxygen produces the following benefits:

  • Shrinking of the blood vessels, thus reducing the amount of edema.
  • Restores normal cell growth.
  • Rebuilds the skin, bone, and muscle.
  • Healing of the capillaries
  • Reduction in the fluid leakage
  • Enhances the ability of the white blood corpuscles to destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Growth of new blood vessels

Is it safe? What about the bends?

In general terms, HBOT is as safe as any other medical treatment. HBO therapy can only be prescribed by a physician and is performed under strict medical supervision. Depending on the patient’s medical condition, the risks, if any, are discussed with the patient before the signing of the consent form.Some side effects of this treatment can be sinuses and barotrauma caused to the ears due to change in the chamber pressure. To minimize these risks, patients are advised to clean their ears during the compression.Minor and temporary changes in the patient’s vision can be another side effect. This can be due to the swelling of the lens. This side effect usually lasts for about 8 weeks after completion of the therapy. A rare side effect is oxygen toxicity caused by use of excessive oxygen supply at high pressures.

Can the parent accompany the child into the chamber?

For children with neurological conditions like autism, HBO therapy has been used under the doctor’s supervision in recent years. Parents can accompany their autistic child into the chamber after getting the required clearance from the authorized doctors.

Are there any restrictions on who can take part in the therapy?

Patients who have consumed the following drugs for treatment recently should not undergo the HBO therapy:

  • Doxorubicin (or Adriamycin), a chemotherapeutic drug that can cause cytotoxicity during HBO therapy.
  • Cisplatin, another chemotherapeutic drug.
  • Disulfiram (or Antabuse), used in the treatment of alcoholism.
  • Mafenide acetate (or Sulfamylon), which suppresses bacterial infections in burn wounds.

Patients with a history of the following conditions, must be consulted by specialist before any HBO therapy:

  • Cardiac heart conditions
  • Upper respiratory infections, as this condition can lead to ear or sinus problems during therapy.
  • High fever, in which case the fever must be lowered before the therapy.
  • Emphysema, which can lead to pneumothorax during HBO therapy.
  • Previously undergone chest surgeries.
  • Malignant diseases such as cancer, as cancer cells can thrive in oxygen-rich blood flows.
  • Barotrauma in the middle ear.

What can’t be taken in?

Patients can only wear 100% cotton clothing (including undergarments) into the chamber. Cosmetics, perfumes, hair conditioners, deodorants, wigs, or jewellery are not permitted inside the chamber. For safety measures, items such as cigarettes, matches, lighters, cell phones, and other metallic objects are not permitted.Patients are also advised to stop consuming alcohol or carbonated drinks for 4 hours prior to the therapy. They also have to give up smoking or any tobacco products during the treatment, as this can interfere with the body’s ability to circulate oxygen.

What can be taken in?

Due to the oxygen-rich setting of the HBOT chamber, the only thing that you are permitted to carry in is drinking water in spill-proof containers. For child patients, most of the chambers are equipped with entertainment systems for watching movies or videos to keep them from getting bored.

How long does each session take?

Each treatment session takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Additionally, the time to pressurize and depressurize the treatment chamber is around 10 to 15 minutes each.The number of sessions can vary between 20 to 40, depending on the diagnosis or the condition. Decompression sickness can be treated with 1 or 2 visits to your clinic. Damage due to radiation or bacterial infections can require 30 or more visits.

Therapeutic Effects of HBO Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment in India can be used to treat all conditions and diseases that can be cured by the use of increased oxygen supply to the affected tissues.The following medical conditions that are covered by medi-claim or health insurance in India can be treated by HBOT:

  • Air or gas embolism
  • Poisoning from carbon monoxide
  • Central retinal artery occlusion
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Sickness due to decompression
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic foot wounds
  • Anaemia or excess blood loss
  • Gas gangrene
  • Thermal burns
  • Osteoradionecrosis and Radiation Tissue Damage
  • Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
  • Skin grafts and flaps
  • Mucormycosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Radiation tissue damage

HBOT can also be effective in the following conditions, which are not covered under any health insurance in India:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sport injuries
  • Brain trauma injury
  • Depression

Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy in India

There are a number of established hyperbaric oxygen therapy centres operating now in India. Based in Delhi, Clinicounselors provides an established team of doctors and medical counsellors attached to a wide range of hospitals.  This team is best qualified to recommend to their patients the best suited treatment options including Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy and Stem cell therapy. The medical professionals in Clinicounselors are also particularly focussed on recommending the right hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism cases in India.