HBOT, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an additional treatment option that goes along with surgeries, wound care, medication management etc. In Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the patient is made to sit or lie down in an oxygen chamber. The chamber is filled with 100% medical grade oxygen at a pressure of two times or three times that of normal atmospheric pressure.
Normal atmosphere contains only 21% oxygen and that is good enough for normal human body to function well. Filling the chamber with 100% oxygen means that the patient will be breathing 5 times more oxygen and when the pressure is increased, the patient may be taking in 12 times more oxygen than under normal circumstances. As a result, more oxygen gets dissolved in the blood (red blood cells) and also in the plasma part of the blood. Usually, plasma doesn’t carry oxygen in the blood but during HBOT procedure, plasma too carries oxygen to body cells and tissues. This way, more oxygen is supplied to every cell and tissue in the body and that helps in healing wounds or other ailments in the body much faster.
Medical conditions that can be treated with HBOT
If you or any of your loved ones is suffering from any of the following conditions, you may check with the doctor to see if HBOT is a right supplemental procedure that can help fix the problem faster:
- Gas Gangrene
- Thermal burns or any other serious burns
- Intracranial Abscesses
- Acute Traumatic Ischemia (ATI)
- Gas Embolism
- Radiation Damage (usually in patients who underwent cancer treatment)
- Decompression sickness
- Severe injuries where the muscles are crushed under heavy force
- Infections that spread faster or kill soft tissue faster
- Foot ulcers or wounds in diabetic patients
Though the FDA didn’t approve HBOT for several other medical conditions, many doctors and hospitals suggest HBOT for many other medical conditions including:
- Treatment of COVID-19 (In patients with severe shortness of breath)
- Brain Stroke
- Lyme Disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Interstitial cystitis
- Migraine headaches
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Brain injuries
Side effects of undergoing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
99% of the times, there are no major side effects of HBOT and even if any are felt, they last for a very brief period of time and then disappear. Some people report problem with ears, lungs or vision after undergoing HBOT. Diabetic patients may see a drop in blood sugar levels and some report very mild uneasiness and fatigue after getting out of the HBOT chamber while some are more energized post the session.
Read more on side effects of HBOT
Benefits of HBOT while treating various medical conditions
- Angiogenesis – Development of new blood vessels in the location of injury helps in supplying more blood to the damaged tissues and cells and help in repairing and regrowing tissue faster.
- Reduced inflammation – Swelling in an injured site is caused due to accumulation of fluids that help in healing the injury. As a result the area gets inflamed and swollen. HBOT helps constricting blood vessels and also reduces accumulation of fluids.
- Antimicrobial treatment – HBOT helps immune system by weakening the bacteria causing infection. HBOT increases free radical scavengers and natural antioxidants in the body helping it to recover faster from infections.
- Stem Cell Circulation – HBOT can increase the stem cells by eight times. Stem cells play a critical role in healing and growing of new tissues and muscles.
Does health insurance cover HBOT at our Chennai clinic?
Yes and No. The condition whether your health insurance covers HBOT treatment depends on ‘why’ the therapy is being done. If the therapy is done in adjunct to other medical conditions such as treating of sports injuries, surgeries etc, your insurance may cover the costs. Otherwise, you may have to bear the expenses.
We do have an insurance department in our Chennai clinic. You can check with the team and your insurance company if your expenses towards HBOT are covered.