Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy delivers oxygen quickly, and in high concentrations, to injured areas systemically. The increased pressure changes the normal cellular respiration process and causes oxygen to dissolve in the plasma. This results in a substantial increase in tissue oxygenation.

Hyperbaric oxygen is also used in the treatment of certain critical care acute disorders such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, necrotizing infections, gas embolism and decompression sickness.

Hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial because it:

  • stimulates the growth of new blood vessels
  • increases oxygenation that can arrest certain types of infections
  • enhances wound healing

The mechanisms associated with the action of hyperbaric oxygen

The following beneficial mechanisms have been identified that serve to enhance the healing of treatment conditions.

Hyperoxygenation

The elevated pressure (1.5 to 3.0 atmospheres) increases the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream and available to tissues, 10 to 13 times over normal conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen provides immediate support to compromised tissue areas with marginal blood flow. Elevated levels of oxygen can also purge toxins, including carbon monoxide, from the body.

Direct Pressure

Hyperbaric oxygen shrinks the size of gas bubbles so that they may be reabsorbed. Hyperbaric oxygen is important in the treatment of arterial gas embolism and decompression sickness.

Vasoconstriction

Elevated levels of oxygen cause vasoconstriction that leads to a reduced blood flow without significantly affecting tissue oxygenation. Hyperbaric oxygen is used to control compartment pressures in crush injuries and to treat thermal burns.

Bactericidial/Bacteriostatic Action

Super oxygen saturation of tissue stops the spread of certain toxins and enhances the killing of bacteria. This is important in the treatment of gas gangrene and necrotizing tissue infection.

Angiogensis and Neovascularization

Hyperbaric oxygen promotes the growth of new blood vessels by enriching the area with oxygen-carrying blood. Although decreased oxygen tensions stimulate angiogensis; for it to be effective, there must be an underlying scaffolding of collagen to support it. Overall, therefore, hyperoxygenation stimulates useful angiogensis.