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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric medicine is an emerging speciality of medicine which delivers oxygen at greater-than-atmospheric pressures to treat a variety of disorders. For some years now Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been recognised as the definitive treatment for decompression illness, air embolism and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Today Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is being used successfully to treat such conditions as deep-seated acute and chronic hard and soft tissue infections, hypoxic non-healing wounds, compromised soft tissue flaps and grafts, and management of wounds in irradiated tissue.

The complex process of wound healing in individuals whose internal powers of healing are hindered presents a considerable medical challenge. In Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, patients are comfortably enclosed in a hyperbaric chamber.

Fully trained technicians are stationed inside and outside the chamber, which is slowly pressurised to 2.5 atmospheres absolute, which equals the pressure of 15 metres of sea water. When under pressure, the patient breathes 100% O2 via a mask or hood.

This combination of O2 and pressure physically dissolves oxygen in the plasma. At 2.5 atmospheres pressure the patients arterial O2 partial pressure is approximately 1500mm of mercury (PaO2).

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