What is HBOT?

H Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment which significantly increases the amount of oxygen available to the body’s tissues, thereby creating an environment that is more conducive to healing certain conditions. It also affects other systems in our body that may provide additional benefits in certain specific conditions.

This is done by placing the patient in a chamber where atmospheric pressure can be increased and controlled. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides this extra oxygen naturally and with minimal side effects.

Worldwide, it is used for a wide variety of treatments.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is prescribed by a physician and performed under medical supervision. Although there are minor risks like all medical treatments, overall hyperbaric oxygen therapy is extremely safe.

What conditions can HBOT treat?

In the UK, the following elective indications are currently approved by the NHS for hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT): mandibular osteoradionecrosis, prevention of osteoradionecrosis, soft tissue radionecrosis, necrotising soft tissue infections, failing flaps and grafts and other problem wounds. It is also approved for certain Emergency Treatments: decompression illness, (cerebral) gas embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning, necrotising soft tissue infections (necrotising fasciitis)failing/threatened flaps, compartment syndrome, crush and reperfusion injuries, and acute sensorineural hearing loss.

The European Committee for Hyperbaric Medicine’s (ECHM) 10th Consensus Conference on Hyperbaric Medicine agreed on revisions to their list of accepted indications for HBOT in April 2016, with the final report published in March 2017.

The 13th edition of the US based Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society’s (UHMS) “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Indications” (April 2014) defines the worldwide accepted 14 indications for HBOT:

  • Air or Gas Embolism
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Gas Gangrene
  • Compartment Syndrome/Crush Injury/Other Traumatic Ischaemias
  • Decompression Sickness (Bends)
  • Arterial Insufficiencies
  • Severe Anaemia
  • Intracranial Abscess
  • Necrotising Soft Tissue Infection
  • Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
  • Delayed Radiation Injury (Soft Tissue and Bony Necrosis)
  • Compromised Grafts and Flaps
  • Acute Thermal Burn Injury
  • Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss