Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is given in a special type of room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. In this setting, you are given 100 percent oxygen delivered through a hood, while the chamber is pressurized to the appropriate level.
Risks of the procedure
Side effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment are extremely rare but include:
- Pressure-related trauma to your ears or nose
- Non–life-threatening convulsions related to oxygen toxicity
- Decompression sickness
A few patients with severe congestive heart failure have experienced additional problems with heart function after hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
During the procedure
Some facilities have a large hyperbaric oxygen chamber that can treat up to a dozen people at a time. But the typical hospital has what is known as a monoplace, which is equipment for just one person.
Here is what usually happens during a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session:
- You will be asked to wear clothing that is 100 percent cotton.
- You will be asked to relax and breathe normally during the procedure. You can watch TV or listen to music.
- You will be able to talk to the therapist at any time during the treatment, and the therapist can see you and talk to you at all times
- The chamber will be sealed and then filled with pressurized air, you will breath 100% oxygen in a provided clear hood.
- The pressure will rise up to 2.5 times the normal air pressure, and you may experience some ear popping or mild discomfort. This is completely normal.
- The session will last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
- After the therapy, technicians will slowly depressurize the chamber.
After the procedure
Once your hyperbaric oxygen therapy session is complete, you may resume normal activities.