During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), a patient with a body injury lies in a pressurized chamber and breathes in pure oxygen that penetrates beyond the blood stream in order to promote healing. HBOT successfully treats the following injuries:
Promptly treating acute thermal burns with hyperbaric oxygen can slow second degree blisters from progressing to the deep tissue damage of third degree burns. HBOT minimizes swelling, promotes wound closure, and decreases the risk of infection – a frequent and serious burn complication.
HBOT also improves blood flow to constricted blood vessels and maintains the structural integrity of the skins connective tissues. This is especially crucial when dealing with burns to the face, ears, feet and hands, where scarring can make reconstructive surgeries more extensive. HBOT can significantly reduce the cost of burn treatments.
Whereas most civilian abdominal injuries are caused by blunt objects, combat soldiers usually suffer penetration wounds. These frequently occur in the liver because of the organs large size. Body organs need an adequate supply of oxygen to function properly. Injured tissue requires even more oxygen to survive. HBOT increases blood oxygenation, which restores normal blood gas levels and tissue function to fight off infection and promote healing.
Doctors perform amputations for those injured in combat or whenever removing a limb could save a patients life. Often, amputation is required when bleeding and tissue damage is extensive or when the limb has been starved of circulatory oxygen for a long time. HBOT drives oxygen and vital nutrients deep into tissues. When administered promptly, it may provide sufficient oxygen to save limbs.
Broken and Fractured Bones
Broken and fractured bones can be hard to heal, especially when the damage is widespread or surrounding tissues and organs have also sustained damage. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy encourages new blood capillary development and speeds bone healing.
Crush injuries damage normal tissue function, leading to increased tissue pressure, restricted blood flow, and tissue cell death. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces blood vessel swelling, which allows blood to flow freely through injured tissues, supplying vital oxygen and nutrients to promote healing.
Compartment syndrome occurs when pressures within skeletal muscle compartments build to unsafe levels. Increased pressure from the swelling can cut off blood flow and collapse blood vessels, causing body tissues to die and preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching nerve and muscle cells.
Reperfusion injury refers to the secondary damage caused when blood leaks into tissues, following an initial injury. It can also happen after the blood supply to an area of tissue has been cut off, such as when blood vessels are cross-clamped in surgery or a limb has had a tourniquet in place for an extended period of time.
Researchers now believe that such events lead to the release of free radicals. These destructive molecules can cause permanent tissue damage and cause blood vessels to constrict and stop blood flow, meaning oxygen and nutrients can no longer get to the injured area.
HBOT encourages the bodys scavengers to hunt down free radicals so that healing can occur. In fact, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the only medical treatment known to nearly or entirely reverse the reperfusion injury process.
Serious wounds always hemorrhage, meaning blood escapes from ruptured blood vessels – especially when damage is widespread. Hemorrhages can be internal or external. Each type can result in death if the brain or other vital organs get starved for oxygen, due to insufficient blood circulation. In the case of massive hemorrhaging, HBOT can provide a blood substitute until patients receive a transfusion.
Hypoxia is the name for a condition resulting from inadequately oxygenated tissues. It can be caused by anemia, carbon-monoxide poisoning, cardiac arrest and other medical conditions that lead to insufficient oxygen supply. The lack of blood oxygen can have a seriously damaging effect on cells that perform important biological functions. Tissues that go too long without oxygen will die. HBOT floods cells with oxygen and can accelerate healing by 30 to 50 percent or more.
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