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NHS treatment, decompression sickness symptoms, Poole and Reading

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Hyperbaric Chambers and Treatment - How it works

What happens during treatment? | How do I prepare? |
Prohibited items | How often will I be treated

Hyperbaric oxygen works by:-

What happens during treatment?

You will go into a multiplace chamber - able to accommodate several patients with a technician, who will be inside, with you at all times.

Oxygen will be delivered via a comfortable mask or hood, allowing you to relax and read while the treatment is going on.

Once comfortably inside the chamber, you will be aware of air slowly being pushed into the chamber - called compression. At this point you will feel a fullness in your ears similar to that felt in an aircraft.

Once you feel this you should clear your ears. This is most easily done by moving your lower jaw around or blowing through your nose while holding your nostrils between your fingers, with your mouth closed.

You will be shown this in detail by the technician. If you feel any discomfort, tell the technician who will be able to help you. At the end of the treatment the mask or hood will be removed and the air inside the chamber slowly released. This is called decompression.

You will feel your ears pop again, which is normal, but you will feel no pain.

Total treatment takes about 1 hour 40 minutes for daily cases, while emergency cases can take up to 12 hours.

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How do I prepare?

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Prohibited items

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How often will I be treated...

A typical course of treatment for patient's referred by hospital would be 30 to 40 daily (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays) sessions.

Each session is 2 hours and treatment slots are arranged at 9am to 11am, 11am to 1pm and 1pm to 3pm. Appointment availability is dependent upon number and type of patient's we are currently treating. Where it is possible to accommodate a favoured time we will do so.

We do ask that all patients referred for a course of treatment try their utmost to complete the course of treatment in a continuous block. Frequently missing treatments can adversely affect outcome.

Emergency patient referrals, diving, carbon monoxide poisoning, soft tissue infections and so on follow a different treatment pattern. These patients will be treated on an initial longer table, often 5 to 7 hours in the case of divers with 'the bends', and subsequent shorter 1 hour 40 minute treatments until fully recovered.

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