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Hyperbaric Medicine Patient Instruction

Purpose Of Treatment

  • A. Adjunctive therapy in conjunction with other modalities of treatment being received.
  • B. Increases oxygen levels in affected areas.
  • C. Physicians will work closely together on your case, and they will confer regularly.

Dive Procedure

  • A. Preparation of Patient
    • 1. Clothing
    • 2. Wound Care
  • B. Checklist
  • C. Descent - pressure being put into the chamber
    • 1. Time to clear ears 2. Hot and humid
  • D. 90 total minutes of 02
  • E. Oxygen is a medication - possible side effect - lung irritation or convulsion (very rare)
  • F. Ascent - pressure is released from the chamber 1. Gets a little cold

Clearing Of The Ears

  • A. How to fill the middle ear with air and why-
  • Why: The increasing pressure in the chamber will cause the eardrum to bow inward if not re-inflated with air periodically. If this is not done, you may experience some pain in your ears.
  • How:
    • 1. Hold your nose and close your mouth.
    • 2. Lift the back of the tongue to the roof of the mouth.
    • 3. Blowout through your nose, while holding it.
    • 4. Keep blowing till your ears feel full.
    • 5. Should you not be able to fill your middle ear with air, notify the observer immediately so that the pain can be alleviated as soon as possible.
  • B. Polyethylene Tubes (PE Tubes)

    Should you not be able to clear, you may require some small ventilating tubes to be inserted in your eardrums by an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. These tubes will remain in your ears the entire time you are being treated at the hyperbaric facility. Once you have finished all your hyperbaric oxygen treatments, you should have them removed by the specialist who inserted them. Care for your ears should be outlined by the ENT specialist.

    Strict care must be taken not to let any water enter your ears while the tubes are in. If your specialist has not given you ear plugs, then take a small piece of cotton and apply Vaseline to it and insert gently into the outer ear canal before bathing and washing of hair. Should you experience any difficulties with these tubes, such as pain or stuffiness, please let us know, so we can notify either your attending physician or your ENT specialist.

Appropriate Material In The Chamber

  • A. Not Allowed
    • 1. Synthetics - nylon, rayon, etc.
    • 2. Vaseline or Oil Based Products - lipstick, hair oil, make-up, skin lotions, and glycerin
    • 3. Hair Spray
    • 4. Watches
    • 5. Hearing Aids
    • 6. Contact Lens
    • 7. Glasses - Metal Framed
    • 8. Prosthetic Devices
    • 9. Smoking Materials
    • 9. Newspaper or Loose Leaf Paper
    • 10. Gum or Candy
  • Note: Any item, i.e. plastic framed glasses, must be checked and approved by HBOT personnel before being allowed into the chamber.

Safety In The Chamber

  • A. Fire Proof Materials - Only 100% cotton clothing including undergarments
  • B. Importance of patient assistance in keeping the chamber safe

Effects Of Smoking On Healing

  • A. Nicotine causes small blood vessels to constrict, making blood supply to tissues less.
  • B. Smoke and Tar decrease lung function, so less oxygen is absorbed by the lungs.
  • C. No smoking two (2) hours before and two (2) hours after Hyperbaric Oxygen so maximum benefits are achieved.

Side Effects Of Hyperbaric Oxygen

  • A. Barotrauma or pain in the ears or sinuses. I may experience pain in my ears or sinuses. I also understand that if I am not able to equalize my ears or sinuses that pressurization will be slowed or halted and suitable remedies will be applied.
  • B. Cerebral Air Emobilism and Pneumothorax. Whenever there is a rapid change in ambient pressure there is the possibility of rupture of the lungs with escape of air into the arteries or into the chest cavity outside the lungs. This can occur if the normal passage of air out of the lungs is blocked during decompression. Only slow decompressions are used in hyperbaric oxygen treatment to obviate this possibility.
  • C. Oxygen Toxicity. The risk of oxygen toxicity has been explained to me and will be minimized by never exposing me to greater pressure or longer times than are known to be safe for the body and its organs.
  • D. Risk of Fire. With the use of oxygen in any form there is always an increased risk of fire, but strict precautions have been taken to prevent t his and all applicable codes have been compiled with.
  • E. Risk of worsening of near-sightedness (myopia). After twenty or more treatments, especially if I am over forty, it is possible I may experience diminution in my ability to see things far away. I understand that this is believed to be temporary and that vision usually returns to its pre-treatment level about six weeks after the cessation of therapy. I understand that it is not advisable to get a new prescription for my glasses until at least eight weeks have passed after hyperbaric therapy.
  • F. Cataracts. In individuals with cataracts ifhas occasionally been demonstrated that there may be a maturing or ripening of the cataracts.
  • G. Temporary improvement in far-sightedness (presbyopia). After twenty or more treatments, especially if! am over forty, there is a possibility that I might experience an improvement in my ability to see things close by or to read without reading glasses. However, I understand this is believed to be temporary and that my vision should return to its previous level of acuity in about six weeks following cessation of hyperbaric therapy.
  • H. Numb fingers. A small portion of patients sometimes notice a numb feeling in the fourth or fifth fingers of the hands after twenty or more treatments. This is not to be of concern and should disappear in about six weeks following cessation of therapy.
  • I. Serous Otitis. Fluid in the ears sometimes accumulates as a result of pressure changes in the ear. I may occasionally feel like I have a "pillow over my ear." This disappears after hyperbaric treatment ceases and can often be eased with decongestants.
  • J. Fatigue. Some people may subjectively feel fatigue following hyperbaric treatment, but this is not a consistent finding.
  • K. History of Uncompensated Congestive Heart Failure. Oxygen causes vasoconstriction. While undergoing treatment cardiac output decreases, but afterload increases once the partial pressure of oxygen is decreased and vasodilation occurs during ascent.
  • L. Hypoglycemia. The body's metabolism is increased from the increased partial pressures of O2; therefore more glucose is utilized by the body. This is pertinent for Type I and Type 2 diabetics.

Tell The Physicians If You Are Having Cold Or Flu Symptoms Such As:

  • A. Sinusitis
  • B. Nausea and/or vomiting
  • C. Stuffy nose or ears, or both
  • D. Diarrhea

*Hyperbaric Oxygen may make an existing cold, flu or other viral infections worse. A cold would interfere with ear clearing and could aggravate existing sinus infections. VISITORS are welcome and a tour will be provided, but once they have been shown around we would like them to wait in the waiting room.

Tour of Facility

  • A. Chamber
  • B. Restroom