How Do I Prepare for Treatment?
The HyOx team will review the following areas with you prior to treatment to ensure your treatment compatibility and safety.
Prior to starting treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy education is given as part of the process of obtaining your consent for treatment.
Before treatment, you will be asked to change into 100% cotton scrubs to help ensure safety and cleanliness inside the chamber. No articles containing nylon or polyester or watches, jewelry, hearing aids, contact lenses, and prosthetic devices can be worn inside the chamber. Eyeglasses are acceptable. Lockers are provided, but please leave all valuables at home. Also, personal cleanliness is important to the effectiveness of the treatment. Wound dressings are left on during treatment.
Colds and Symptoms
Notify the HyOx team if you have a cold or symptoms of a cold or flu — including fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever blisters, cold sores, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or general body aches. Sickness can affect your ability to clear your ears during compression and decompression in the chamber. It’s advised to postpone treatments until symptoms have subsided.
Makeup, hair spray, wigs, perfume, nail polish, skin lotions, and shaving lotion containing a petroleum (Vaseline) or alcohol base are prohibited inside the hyperbaric chamber. Deodorant should not be used prior to entering the chamber, although it can be applied post-treatment. For your safety, a complete list of prohibited materials will be reviewed prior to treatment.
Your complete drug history will enable us to confirm your viability for treatment and if changes in either medication or schedule are necessary. Before your hyperbaric oxygen treatment begins, HyOx physicians review your medical and drug history and conduct a complete physical evaluation. Your hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment regimen is prescribed according to your diagnosis, symptoms, overall condition, and primary physician’s current treatment methods. As some medications are not compatible with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, each drug you take will be reviewed. Your referring physician will be advised to any medication concerns or recommendations.
If you are a diabetic on insulin, it is important to monitor blood sugars. Also, report any symptoms of low blood sugar to a HyOx team member. If this happens once treatment begins, sugar, orange juice, and jellied sugar are available and can be served inside the chamber.
Nicotine is incompatible with hyperbaric oxygen therapy because it diminishes your body’s ability to absorb oxygen by constricting the blood vessels. For best results, stop smoking until your hyperbaric treatment regimen is complete.
What Happens During a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatment?
Upon entering HyOx’s multi-patient chamber, you’ll be assigned a reclining seat with footrest. Accomodations can be made for patients who must remain lying down. After vital signs are taken, you will be fitted with a hood or mask connected to the hyperbaric oxygen supply. A hyperbaric technician or physician will remain in the chamber throughout the treatment’s duration.
Technicians are also present outside the hyperbaric chamber following the Navy’s dive tables to regulate the time within the pressurized chamber. The chamber attendant can communicate with the outside technicians. There is also a camera posted inside for extra observation.
During treatment, patients can read, listen to music, or watch videos on the chamber’s entertainment system. Medications, beverages, snacks, and a private restroom are available at all times during treatment in HyOx’s multi-patient hyperbaric chambers.
The power of hyperbaric medicine begins as your blood plasma is saturated with 100% oxygen. During the two-hour session, the hyperoxygenation enriches the blood and provides much needed energy and food to your cells. This helps to regenerate tissue and heal chronic wounds.
What Do the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments Feel Like?
Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy is painless, you may have a sensation of fullness in your ears as your eardrums respond to the changes in atmospheric pressure during the compression (descent) phase. The feeling is similar to traveling on a mountain road, changing attitudes in an airplane, or changing depths in underwater diving. If needed, nasal spray is provided to help drain nasal passages to clear the ears. Techniques for clearing your ears (forcing air into the middle ear and make the eardrums bow outward) are reviewed and practiced to minimize the risk of barotraumas (injury caused by a change in air pressure) to the ears or sinuses caused by pressure changes. If you cannot clear your ears on your own, pressure-equalizing tubes inserted by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist may be required.
As the chamber begins to fill with air, you’re asked to wear headsets to reduce the amount of noise the circulating air makes when the “virtual descent” to 45 feet below sea level begins (called compression). The chamber itself doesn’t move — it’s the pressure inside that changes — reaching the equivalent of two to three times the pressure of air at sea level.
The air inside the chamber will get warmer during this time, but since the chamber is temperature-regulated, it will cool off once the descent is completed. When you have reached the prescribed pressure (usually 2.0-2.5 ATA), you’ll be asked to place the clear hood or mask over your head in order to receive the 100% oxygen. The attendant will assist you with this, especially during your first treatment.
How Many Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Will I Need?
The diagnosis, symptoms, and the patient’s overall condition determine our treatment protocol. For most patients, the average number of hyperbaric oxygen treatments is 30-60. Of course, this number varies according to a patient’s condition, response to therapy, and their commitment to consistent treatment sessions. The treatments will be administered on consecutive days Monday through Friday until complete. For best results, it is of utmost importance that no appointments are missed. If needed, your referring physician or HyOx will verify your treatment schedule to your employer.
How Do I Get Referred for Treatment?
Patients are accepted either by physician referral or by self referral. A consultation is scheduled for patient evaluation using criteria established by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Call 678-303-3200 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page to set up a consultation or request a referral form.
HyOx’s medical team works with other clinicians caring for the patient so that the hyperbaric treatments are coordinated with other therapies. Throughout the course of treatment, regular progress reports are sent to the patient’s other physicians, including photographs, documenting the patient’s progress.