Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a simple but effective treatment in which you breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. The therapy quickly delivers high concentrations of oxygen to your bloodstream which helps increase your body's own natural wound-healing abilities.

What conditions does HBOT treat?

Currently, Medicare, HMOs, and other insurance providers approve HBOT for treatment of the following conditions:

  • Diabetic ulcer of the lower extremities
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis and osteoradionecrosis
  • Chronic refractory osteomyelitis
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Actinomycosis
  • Crush injury/acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
  • Progressive necrotizing infection (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency

"When a wound does not respond to regular medical care, advanced modalities like HBOT therapy often help patients heal.”

- Wound Care Center, Medical Director

How does HBOT work?

While enclosed in a large, circular, clear acrylic chamber, at greater-than-normal atmospheric pressure, patients breathe pure oxygen. This saturates blood plasma, allowing it to carry from 15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissues. Up to 18 percent of wound care patients may require HBOT treatments provided by the Center’s physicians, who are specialty-trained in hyperbaric medicine, as well as by our highly-trained clinical hyperbaric technologist and staff.

HBOT also helps fight certain types of infections, improves circulation and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Therapy is administered daily and the number of therapies you receive depends on your individual treatment plan and prognosis

What to expect during HBOT

Our HBO pressurized treatment chambers are located in comfortable treatment rooms equipped with a TV and a DVD player. The clear, acrylic chamber allows you to see your surroundings. To begin the therapy, you will be positioned inside the chamber. During the therapy, pressure inside the chamber is gradually increased and the temperature will temporarily rise.

The increased pressure may case fullness in your ears, but your technologist will tell you how to clear this and relieve any discomfort. Treatment sessions may last 2 to 2.5 hours and many patients simply relax, or even sleep, while receiving this beneficial therapy.

Some patients experience fatigue during treatment, but this is completely normal. Your vision may temporarily change but should return to normal a few weeks after your therapy is completed. Because this change is temporary, we do not recommend changing your eyewear prescription during the course of your treatment. If you wear contact lenses, ask your hyperbaric physician for advice on wearing them during treatment.

How to prepare for your treatment

You will receive complete instructions for your treatment when you arrive. A comfortable cotton garment approved for use in the chamber will be provided to you. For your safety, the following are not allowed inside the chamber:

  • Makeup, nail polish, perfume, or aftershave
  • Hairspray or hair oils
  • Wigs or hairpieces
  • Alcohol-or petroleum-based products
  • Cell phones or pagers
  • Jewelry, titanium frame eyeglasses, keys, or other metals
  • Flammable materials or heat-producing items
  • Hearing aids
  • Food, gum or juice

Before beginning each treatment, let us know if you are ill, currently taking medication(s), or have had changes to your medication(s) since your last treatment. Your treatment plan is tailored to your individual needs. Keeping us informed of illness and/or current medications allows us to update your treatment plan.

Over the course of your HBOT treatment, you should not use tobacco products as they constrict blood vessels and will prolong, or even prevent, wound healing.

Contact us

To learn more about wound care and AHN Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, call one of our convenient Wound Care Centers:

Wound Care Center
South Hills Medical Office Building on
Jefferson Hospital’s main campus Suite 207
(412) 469-7676

Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center
Bethel Park Campus Suite 101
(412) 854-7171

Allegheny General Hospital
320 E. North Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 359-4202

Saint Vincent Medical Group Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center
232 West 25th Street
Erie, PA 16544
(814) 452-7878