Hyperbaric Treatments: FSA Eligibility
What is hyperbaric oxygen treatment?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment, or therapy, is when a patient enters a pressurized facility where they breathe in pure oxygen for a certain amount of time.
How can hyperbarics treatments treat health conditions?
By breathing in pure oxygen for an extended period of time, a person is able to take in more oxygen through their bloodstream. Because the body’s tissues need oxygen to work, breathing in 100 percent oxygen enhances tissues function and helps fight infection.
The first hyperbaric chamber was built in 1662 by a physician named Henshaw who thought the chamber could help with respiratory issues. Beginning in the 1940s, hyperbaric chamber therapy became commonplace for military divers to help with decompression illnesses (Medical News Today).
To work, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) says that the chamber must be at 1.4 atmosphere absolute, or three times normal pressure, which can increase oxygen in the lungs up to three times.
What conditions can hyperbaric oxygen treatments help?
Hyperbaric treatments can be recommended to those suffering from decompression sickness, acute traumatic ischemia, air/gas embolism, anemia due to blood loss, artery issues, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, necrotizing soft tissue infection, skin grafts, radiation injury and more (Medical News Today).
What are the risks?
High pressure environments can damage the ear and nose passages. Those with lung ailments can be at risk for lung damage. Those with preexisting heart issues should be monitored for pulmonary edema. Overexposure to oxygen can also lead to oxygen poisoning.
Patients may also experience anxiety or claustrophobia, and should be notified beforehand that patients cannot leave the hyperbaric chamber until the pressure is back to normal, and only then is it safe to open the doors.