Improved quality of life. By promoting healing of the problem wound, adding HBO therapy can mean the difference between disability, loss of limb, and healing.

Improved care. By delivering high oxygen under pressure, hypoxic tissue can be restored and healing takes place.

Lower costs. By accelerating healing and the reduction of extensive medical care, HBOT coincides with cost-containment goals of major insurance providers.

Since every patient is different it is hard to predict the result in each individual case. However, we know from 50 years of experience that HBOT is safe and will not make the patient worse. Over 80% of patients achieve improvement in conjunction with physical and occupational therapy. The usual oxygen therapy is once daily, five days a week (M-F) for eight weeks. If a significant response is noted after 40 HBOT additional treatments may be helpful.

Treated Conditions

Anaerobic Infections

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) combined with appropriate antibiotics has been shown to manage and reverse serious anaerobic infections, such as gas gangrene and progressive necrotizing infections. HBOT is generally only used as an adjunct to conventional therapy when the disease process is non-responsive to antibiotics and surgical treatment.

Autism

Autism cases have skyrocketed in the past decade and are now the third most prominent developmental condition of children today. There is clear documentation by some experts that autism results in brain lesions that can be reversible through HBOT and can result in improved health, better socialization, and faster responses to supportive therapies.

Unfortunately, while HBOT for pediatric brain injuries and cerebral palsy have been heavily researched and documented, very little has been done to evaluate HBOT for autism. Thus, while some primary physicians are excited about the changes they have seen in children with autism who have had HBOT, no formal research documentation exists yet.

A number of freestanding HBOT facilities have observed that some children were able to gain one word speech within a week, and communicate in three-word sentences within a couple of weeks. Most demonstrated improved social skills and developed the ability to interact with others during the block of HBOT sessions.

Cancer Radiation Tissue Damage

Radiation damage causes hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in the body’s tissue. Hyperbaric oxygen helps fight this damage by increasing the amount of oxygen in the tissue, which aids in the recovery. For example, extra oxygen stimulates the skin to form new collagen, the basic building material in wound healing. New collagen enhances the formation of new capillaries, supporting skin graphs and allowing small skin ulcers to heal over. The benefits of HBOT while treating radiation tissue damage was first reported in medical literature in 1973.

Cosmetic Surgery

In most cases, HBOT has shown to speed up the healing process for patients undergoing face lifts, laser or chemical peels, breast augmentation, and many other reconstruction procedures. One of the most widely published benefits is that it shortens the recovery time by 40 to 50 percent . Research has further shown that HBOT substantially reduces pain, swelling, and potential complications. Many physicians often prescribe HBOT to smoking patients before and after their surgical procedure to both prepare the patient to better withstand the surgery, and to heal faster post surgery.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy results in significant numbers of handicapped children today, and its causes are many. These brain injuries are due to oxygen deprivation with resultant tissue hypoxia due to poor oxygen delivery and uptake in the brain. These abnormalities can be documented by brain SPECT Scans that demonstrate central nervous system areas of decreased brain perfusion and function.

HBOT usually administered in blocks of 40 low pressure 1 hour sessions can improve gross motor function as well as having beneficial effects on performance and activities of daily living, attention, working memory, speech and language. Beneficial effects on seizure frequency and severity are often noted. Post treatment brain SPECT scanning is recommended and can demonstrate improvements in delivery of oxygen to see the deprived areas. (See Rebecca N.’s testimony)

Crush Injury

Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs

Tissues associated with these injuries are generally hypoxic, lacking adequate circulation due to damaged capillaries, clotting and other circulatory blockages, leading to reduced tissue oxygen levels. HBOT shortens the recovery time by as much as 30-50% and greatly reduces pain.

HBOT supports super-oxygenation of the blood serum (not Red Blood Cells), thus enabling oxygen to diffuse through damaged tissues at that molecular level. HBOT reduces edema (swelling) within minutes and also causes angio-genesis within the first 15-20 minutes of treatment.

Diabetic Wounds

Problem wounds are those that fail to respond to usual medical and surgical treatment. These wounds are usually associated with diabetic feet, traumatic wounds and ulcers due to inadequate blood supply.

HBOT provides a significant increase in tissue oxygenation in these poorly vascularized, infected wounds. This elevation in oxygen levels in these tissues induces significant positive changes in the diabetic wound repair process.

HBOT promotes diabetic wound healing by enhancing fibroblast growth, collagen synthesis and growth of new blood vessels, as well as its effect of killing many bacteria. The greatest benefits are achieved in tissues with compromised blood flow and oxygen supply.

Lyme Disease

Dr. Fife (past UHMS President) and others have shown that when Lyme becomes chronic and the spirochete is sequestered in cells, the cells may protect the spirochete against the antibiotic, making it less effective. However, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy combined with an antibiotic regime has shown significant improvement of the quality of life, long after all other treatments have failed. Research has shown that the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is a facultative anaerobic organism, which can survive in an oxygen partial pressure of 35 mg Hg, but not in an oxygen partial pressure of 160mg Hg. By forcing higher levels of oxygen into the body’s cells, this oxygen can act against the Lyme spirochete.

Multiple Sclerosis

HBOT is the only treatment that offers the MS patient relief of “symptoms” with no serious side effects. HBOT has been the therapy used on the largest number of patients for the longest period of time, having the longest period of follow-up results.

Non-Healing Wounds

Problem wounds are those that fail to respond to usual medical and surgical treatment. These wounds are usually associated with diabetic feet, traumatic wounds and ulcers due to inadequate blood supply.

HBOT provides a significant increase in tissue oxygenation in these poorly vascularized, infected wounds. This elevation in oxygen levels in these tissues induces significant positive changes in the wound repair process.

HBOT promotes wound healing by enhancing fibroblast growth, collagen synthesis and growth of new blood vessels, as well as its effect of killing many bacteria. The greatest benefits are achieved in tissues with compromised blood flow and oxygen supply. (UHMS “Committee Report”)

Osteomyelitis

“Inflammation of the bone”: Adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can play an integral role in the effective management of refractory osteomyelitis. Where Oxygen tension in osteomyelitic bone is low, HBOT is not only clinically effective but also significantly cost effective. Sixty to eighty-five-percent of patients who failed to respond to years of costly repetitive surgery and antibiotic care have had infections successfully arrested when HBOT was administered along with intensive surgical and antibiotic therapy.

Stroke

The most important factors in a stroke patient’s recovery is the extent of the infarct and of the penumbra, the region that surrounds the infarct. The presence of viable brain tissue in the penumbra explains why the initial symptoms do not always predict how much function the patient will eventually recover. Key attributes of HBOT are that it decreases swelling and reawakens the stunned neurons within the penumbra by providing them with oxygen. Activation of these neurons explains why patients can show improvement when HBOT is administered years after a stroke occurs. Many stroke patients have stunned but living brain cells, which are especially common in cases, where imaging studies show the presence of potentially recoverable brain tissue. The revival of non-functional neurons is HBOT’s most notable effect in cases of stroke.

Tinnitus

Several studies have shown that HBO therapy reduces Tinnitus following acute acoustic trauma, providing it is started within a few days after the trauma.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as damage to the brain resulting from external mechanical force or penetration of an object into the brain. In addition to the damage caused at the moment of injury, brain trauma causes secondary injury. These secondary complications contribute substantially to the damage from the initial injury and further disrupt normal brain function.

Who does traumatic brain injury usually effect?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur twice as often in men as women. Higher risk populations are between the ages of 15 and 24 years, and 75 years and older. TBI is known as the signature injury of the Iraq/Afghan Wars. The RAND Corporation estimates that more than 320,000 veterans have experienced TBI while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the US, 5.3 million people live with disabilities caused by TBI.

What are the most common symptoms of traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury is complex and can have a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. Some of the most common outwards symptoms and effects include: Impulsive behavior, loss of memory, impaired perception, personality changes, loss of taste and smell, diminished concentration, hearing and balance disorders, cognitive fatigue, concussion, coma, and epilepsy.

What are the traditional treatments for traumatic brain injury?

Currently there is no cure for TBI. Initial treatment is to stabilize patient and minimize secondary injury. Long-term treatment is supportive and includes physical and occupational therapy, and psychiatric support through counseling and medication.

Why is traumatic brain injury amenable to oxygen therapy?

When cells in the brain die, blood plasma leaks out into surrounding brain tissue causing swelling and reducing blood flow. These otherwise normal cells go dormant because they can’t function without enough oxygen. HBOT dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, making oxygen available to heal damaged capillary walls, reduce swelling, and aid in new blood vessel formation. Blood flow can be restored to the dormant tissue and these cells then have the potential to function again.

FAQS

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) one breathes 100% oxygen at pressures (baric) greater (hyper) than sea level atmospheric pressure, which enhances the body’s natural-healing process virtually risk free. Hyperbaric Medicine grew out of the problems encountered by divers exposed to high pressures. Hyperbaric Medicine represents an emerging medical specialty whose scientific basis, while supported by over 6,000 studies, continues to be explored. Today, HBOT is approved for use in air embolism, blood loss, bone infections, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning (smoke inhalation), crush injuries, decompression sickness, gangrene, soft tissue infections, intracranial abscess, non-healing wounds, radiation tissue damage, and skin grafts.

Other conditions that show evidence of HBOT value as a treatment include: stroke (cerbrovascular accident), head injury (cerebral edema/coma), cerebral palsy, bone-fracture, acute retinal artery occlusion, migraine & cluster headaches, chronic fatigue-syndrome (CFS), sports injuries, AIDS, sickle cell anemia crisis, acute spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (MS), Lyme disease, diabetic retinopathy, colitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and plastic/reconstructive surgery (preparation and recovery). While these conditions are-considered off-label indications for HBOT, there is stronger scientific evidence for a-number of these indications than there is for almost half of all the approved indications; nevertheless, because these conditions are off-label, by law no claims can be made.

Pacific Hyperbarics is under the supervision and directorship of David Greene, MD. He will provide consultation for any indication which HBOT has been shown to benefit. Physician referral is desirable, but no one will be excluded because of lack of physician referral. Patients who seek out HBOT are often facing life-threatening medical problems and have exhausted established medical treatment options, which is why Pacific Hyperbarics adheres to the highest professional and ethical standards when using HBOT for new and unapproved medical indications.

What are contradictions to HBOT?

Some preexisting conditions or concurrent therapies can present contraindications to HBO.

Upper respiratory infections and chronic sinusitis make it difficult for the patient to clear his/her ears. Often decongestants are used to open the sinuses.

HBO treatment is absolutely contraindicated for patients with pneumothorax, or collapse lung, and caution is used with HBO treatment if a patient has a history of spontaneous pneumothorax.

HBO is not recommended for patients who have active cancerous conditions on certain chemotherapy agents.

If a woman is pregnant, HBO is not recommended for precautionary reasons, except in life-threatening emergencies.

What are possible side effects of HBOT?

Barotrauma or ear and sinus discomfort. A patient may experience a fullness and an uncomfortable pressure in the ears. This can be relieved by slowing the rate of descent/ascent so that the patient is comfortable with the change in pressure. Also, decongestants taken prior to treatment is sometimes helpful.

Serous otitis. Rarely, fluid accumulates in the ears as a result of changes in pressure in the ears and sinuses resulting in a possible ruptured membrane. Treatment is the discontinuance of HBOT and a referral to an ENT physician.

Temporary worsening of near-sightedness (Myopia). After twenty or more treatments, especially if the patient is over forty years of age, it is possible to experience a temporary diminution in the ability to focus on things far away. This is temporary and vision typically returns to its pre-treatment level about six weeks after cessation of therapy. It is not advisable to get a new prescription for glasses until at least eight weeks have passed after hyperbaric therapy.

Temporary improvement in far-sightedness (Presbyopia). Also, after twenty or more treatments, especially if the patent is over forty years of age, there is a possibility to experience an improvement in the ability to see things close up or to read without glasses. However, this is temporary and the vision should return to its previous level of acuity in about six weeks following cessation of hyperbaric treatment.

What is the treatment process like?

The treatment process may be modified for different types of chambers, either the monoplace or the multi-place chamber. In the monoplace chamber, one person at a time is treated, whereas in the multiplace chamber where more than one patient is treated at the same time, with an attendant present in the chamber. Pacific Hyperbarics utilizes monoplace chambers to treat our patients.

Only 100% cotton clothing like the scrubs provided are permitted in the chamber. No cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants, hair preparations, wigs or jewelry are worn during the treatments. Patients are advised not to take carbonated drinks or alcohol for at least four hours prior to each treatment, and that they should give up smoking and tobacco products, as these interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen.

Once inside the chamber, the patient will begin to experience the change in pressure which is the same as that felt in an airplane when ascending or landing. Prior to the treatment, the patient is instructed in techniques of equalizing the ear/sinus pressure by yawning, swallowing, or attempting to blow through the nose while holding it shut. During the treatment the individual will be breathing 100% oxygen, dispersing oxygen into the blood plasma and delivering up to 15 times as much oxygen to tissues as would breathing room air. Normal treatment length is 60 – 90 minutes, depending the diagnosis and the physician’s determination of treatment. The acrylic walls allow for the trained technicians to closely monitor the patient, as well as providing comfortable viewing out of the chamber. From inside the chamber the patient can always communicate with the attending technician via intercom, watch TV or just take a nap.