HBOT’s Side Effects:
are generally mild as long as the therapy lasts no longer than two hours and the pressure inside the chamber is less than 3 times that of normal atmospheric pressure.
The main side effect reported from hyperbaric medicine is ear barotrauma. That is like the pain or discomfort we feel when we experience a difference in pressure between the inside of our bodies and the outside environment, similar to the cabin pressure we feel in an airplane. Sensitive patients may require ear tubes. To date, no hyperbaric facility treatment has resulted in ruptured ear drums.
Although it’s true that oxygen toxicity may occur with exposure to high concentrations of oxygen for long periods, the treatment parameters used in clinical HBOT are well within safe limits.
Patients who are sensitive to increased oxygen or have low blood sugar may have a seizure. This only happens about once in every 10,000 HBOT treatments, and seizures have produced no long-term effects.
CHANGES IN VISION
Some patients report a change in vision that is caused due to pressures on the cornea. This only occurs during prolonged courses of treatment and reverses once HBOT has completed.
When to Use Caution
If you have any of the following conditions, we request that you discuss them with Dr. Spiegel before undergoing HBOT therapy:
- Pneumothorax, unless treated with a Heimlich valve
- Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces)
- Acute upper respiratory infection or sinusitis
- Emphysema, which can usually be treated at lower atmospheric pressure
- Uncontrolled high fever
- History of ear complications
- Thoracic surgery or spontaneous pneumothorax
- Seizure disorders
Children with cerebral palsy (CP) incur seizures during hyperbaric oxygen therapy at about the same rate as the overall hyperbaric therapy population (around one in 10,000 compressions). Even though seizures are a frequent symptom of childhood CP, most children with CP who have been treated with HBOT have shown decreased seizure activity.
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