The following frequently asked questions may help patients learn what to expect before receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) at an Atlantic Health System hyperbaric center.
What medical conditions may benefit from HBOT?
Is “high pressure” oxygen safe?
Yes. HBOT has minimal side effects and our health care team will closely monitor you throughout the treatment.
Does HBOT hurt?
No. You may feel a plugging in your ears from the pressurization of the chamber, similar to what you may experience when you are in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool.
What should I expect during treatment?
You'll relax in a transparent, atmosphere-controlled chamber that allows freedom of movement. You may listen to music, watch TV, take a nap or converse with staff during therapy.
Who will follow my progress?
Our medical team includes board-certified physician specialists and hyperbaric-certified nurses, all of whom have extensive training in the administration of HBOT.
How long do treatments last?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments typically last 90 to 120 minutes and are administered one to two times per day, five days a week.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends on your specific condition and your body's response to HBOT. Some wound healing cases require as many as 40 treatments, but many are addressed in fewer than 20 sessions.
What are the side effects or complications related to HBOT?
Possible side effects include ripening of cataracts, plugged feeling in ears, temporary worsening of near-sightedness (myopia), and temporary improvement in far-sightedness (presbyopia). Possible complications include collapsed lung (pneumothorax), perforated ear drum (barotrauma), oxygen seizures and hypoglycemia.
What should I wear?
You will be provided 100 percent cotton garments to wear during therapy. A storage area will be available for your personal items, but please leave valuables at home.
What restrictions should I be aware of?
Items that are prohibited from the hyperbaric chamber include cigarettes, matches, lighters, books, magazines, paper products, electronics and battery-operated devices, hair spray, makeup, perfume, deodorant, shaving cream, lotions, and any other hair or skin care product. Removal of jewelry, dentures, partial plates and hearing aids is required. You may also be asked to remove contact lenses, depending on the type you wear.
How can I prepare for treatment?
Your physician and hyperbaric oxygen team will give you specific instructions about how to prepare for treatment. Some important things to remember include:
Stop smoking – Tobacco products limit the delivery of blood and oxygen to your body tissues.
Create a list of medications – Tell your physician and medical team about all prescription or over-the-counter drugs you may be taking because some can affect your body’s response to oxygen therapy.
Alert your physician or medical team if you’re not feeling well – Cold and flu symptoms may require a temporary delay in your treatment schedule.
Is HBOT covered by my insurance?
HBOT is reimbursable by Medicare and most other third-party payors for certain accepted conditions. In most cases, pre-authorization will need to be obtained prior to treatment.