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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Your Questions Answered

Jan 03, 2024
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Your Questions Answered
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non-invasive treatment that increases oxygen levels in your body. It can play an important role in the comprehensive treatment of slow-healing and non-healing vascular wounds.

Under typical circumstances, the air you breathe contains about 21% oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) delivers medical-grade oxygen that is 100 percent pure. High oxygen concentrations can boost your body's natural healing abilities. 

HBOT is one tool Third Coast Vascular uses to treat low levels of oxygen in tissues to treat vascular wounds. Keep reading to learn how this therapy can help wounds heal and prevent complications. 

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?


HBOT involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. In this controlled environment, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. 

This allows the lungs to absorb much more oxygen than they would otherwise. This high level of oxygen is then carried throughout the body in the bloodstream, aiding in the healing process of various conditions.

How does HBOT work?

The principle behind HBOT is simple yet profound. By increasing the oxygen concentration in the blood, HBOT enhances the body’s natural healing processes. The high levels of oxygen in the bloodstream help fight bacteria and stimulate the release of growth factors and stem cells that promote healing. This is particularly beneficial in healing vascular wounds that are slow to heal due to low oxygen. 

What conditions can HBOT treat?

Historically, HBOT was used to treat decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. However, it’s now used more broadly for treating issues such as serious infections, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of conditions like diabetes. 

HBOT for treating slow-healing wounds

Vascular disease-related wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, or arterial insufficiency ulcers, are slow to heal due to poor blood circulation and reduced oxygen supply to the affected area. HBOT plays a vital role in boosting healing by significantly enhancing the oxygen levels in the blood and tissues.

Fighting infection and reducing inflammation

Wounds associated with vascular diseases are often prone to infections, which can further complicate healing. The high levels of oxygen delivered during HBOT have potent antibacterial properties, helping to reduce the risk of infections. Additionally, HBOT is shown to reduce inflammation around the wound, providing a better environment for healing.

Stimulating angiogenesis


Another significant benefit of HBOT in treating vascular disease-related wounds is its ability to stimulate angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels. By encouraging the growth of new blood vessels, HBOT improves blood supply to the affected area, which is essential for wound healing and reducing the risk of wound recurrence.

Reducing the risk of amputation

For patients with severe diabetic foot ulcers and other vascular disease-related wounds, there’s an elevated risk of amputation. HBOT has the potential to reduce this risk. By enhancing healing and reducing complications like severe infection, HBOT can play a role in saving limbs that might otherwise require amputation.

What can you expect during treatment?

During HBOT, patients lie in a clear chamber and can relax, sleep, or watch TV during the session. The therapy can last from 30 minutes to two hours. Side effects may include ear popping or mild discomfort, similar to what occurs in an airplane or at high elevations, as the pressure changes in the chamber.

To learn more about HBOT and other vascular treatments, contact Third Coast Vascular to schedule a visit.