Curing even the deadliest of diseases have been made possible with the aid of medical science and fast growing technology. Be it the breathing trouble asthma or dangerous diseases, scientists, biologists and pharmacists have been working on its remedies for centuries. In this regard, it can be said that the invention of hyperbaric chambers was the fruit of the hard work of the U.S military, which saved the lives of thousands of sea divers suffering from decompression sickness.
Origin of the hyperbaric oxygen chambers
The hyperbaric oxygen or HBO was first tested clinically by the U.S military following the First World War. Although the clinical use of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy had begun since the mid of 1800’s, it started being used safely from 1930.
What is a hyperbaric chamber?
- A Hyperbaric chamber is a hard shelled or soft portable enclosed area allowing every individual to breathe in 100 percent safe and pure oxygen effectively at an increased pressure level, usually greater than the normal atmospheric pressure level.
- The hard portable chamber comprises of a steel or aluminum pressure vessel, acrylic windows and round-shaped or wheel-in type hatches for the patients.
- It includes an airlock, closed-circuit televisions for the nurses and other medical staffs outside to constantly monitor the patients inside the hyperbaric chamber, an intercom for easy communication between the patient and the medical staff or technician.
- It even has a carbon dioxide scrubber for the passage of gas via a soda-lime canister, a control panel outside the chamber for proper regulation of oxygen through masks and closing and opening of the valves that controls the air flow to and from the chamber.
- The soft portable chamber on the other hand, consists of a flexible pressure of acrylic and coated with urethane and bonded with nylon, a long dual zipper-sealed opening and an over-pressure valve in case of expulsion of the exhaled gas out of the chamber through the pressure regulators.
- A multiplace hyperbaric chamber works 24 hours a day and accommodates and treats numerous patients at a time.
- There is an adequate number of stretchers as well as sitting chairs available to comfort the patients.
- A nurse or a well-trained in hyperbaric medicine is there to keep a constant vigil on the patients and attend to their needs from time to time.
- A multiplace hyperbaric chamber incites a homely feeling inside the patients and they no more feel lonely and isolated finding other patients beside them unlike a monoplace hyperbaric chamber which accommodates only one patient at a time.
- A multiplace hyperbaric chamber is large and often the size of a room.
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a mode or way of supplying pure and safe oxygen to a patient inside it by keeping the pressure of the entire oxygen chamber at a higher level compared to the normal atmospheric pressure.
Why do we need hyperbaric chamber treatments?
The normal atmospheric air that we breathe in contains 21 percent of oxygen and 79 percent of other gases. This amount of inhalable oxygen is sufficient to sustain lives on earth. But people often look out for these hyperbaric chamber treatment options when they tend to suffer from the following physical disorders or injuries:
- Such as gas embolism
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Decompression sickness
- Burns and hence damaged tissues
- Hyper oxygenation of blood and tissue
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Crush injuries
- Heavy blood loss
- Suffering from autism, stroke, cerebral palsy, psoriasis, sclerosis, pancreatic cancer
- Intracranial abscess
- Wounds or injuries that fail to heal through the traditional conventional methods or treatments.
How do the HBO chambers work?
The hyperbaric chambers work methodically, thus helping millions recover from their ailment fast. At first, the patient needs to lie down on a comfortable table or sit on chair for the treatment to begin inside the HBO chamber. The chamber is air-tight throughout the course of treatment and adequate pressure is supplied to it externally. The length of the procedure varies from 60 to 120 minutes on an average per individual. The HBOT demands high compression to develop inside the chamber by the process of compression. This facilitates the hyperbaric oxygen to fill the hyperbaric chamber completely and the patient gets to inhale 100 percent oxygen through his helmet or mask for 30 minutes until a short break for normal breathing of air for 5 minutes. At this crucial point, the oxygen enters the blood stream of the patient and accelerates the activity of the white blood cells and antibacterias. This stage needs special notice of the trained men and nurses. At last, the process ends up with decompression, which lasts for 10 minutes and makes the patient’s body ready to respond to the normal oxygen compression outside the chamber.
Risks involving hyperbaric chamber treatments
These hyperbaric treatments help patients overcome their illness within a short span of time, but entail several risk factors that may prove fatal to many, any time.
- As the hyperbaric chambers contain 100 percent oxygen, these are highly prone to fire hazards.
- Improper practicing of hyperbaric oxygen therapy may lead to unavoidable and severe dangers. Patients may even die of oxygen toxicity, if an individual is made to inhale excessive doses of hyperbaric oxygen for a prolonged period of time.
- Even excess oxygen shows reverse actions in the body by making chemical changes and disrupts the normal metabolic processes of the human body.
- Poisoning of oxygen may lead you to a state of unconsciousness, dizziness, nausea, hallucination.
- Other symptoms of oxygen toxicity include ear pain, rupture of the ear drum, chest pain and many more.
However, the home oxygen therapy often excludes the above mentioned risks and ensures a good health to you. So if you are thinking of resorting to these hyperbaric chamber treatment options, then be quick and fast, but don’t forget to take sufficient precautionary measures beforehand. After all, Health Is Our Wealth.