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Hyperbaric Medicine (HBO)

What is it?

The word "hyperbaric" means "high pressure". Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) is a medical treatment where the patient breaths 100% oxygen under increased barometric pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides 10 to 15 times higher levels of oxygen in your blood plasma. This hyperoxygenation stimulates the production of new blood vessels at the cellular level, promotes tissue growth, reduces swelling, and enhances the killing power of your leukocytes against infections.

Our hyperbaric treatments are administered in a Class B chamber which holds one patient, or in a Class A chamber which holds up to 12 patients. Class A chambers allow us to use medical attendants inside the chamber, who can aid in your comfort, and are in constant communication with the chamber operator and the physician.

HBO is an appropriate treatment for the following conditions:

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Decompression Illness
  • Air Embolism
  • Gas Gangrene
  • Acute Traumatic Peripheral Ischemia
  • Crush Injury, Compartment Syndrome
  • Progressive Necrotizing infections
  • Acute Peripheral Arterial Insufficiency
  • Compromised Skin Grafts and Flaps
  • Chronic Refractory Osteomyelitis (Infection of Bone)
  • Osteoradionecrosis (Radiation necrosis of the Mandible)
  • Soft Tissue Radionecrosis, Radiation cystitis, Radiation proctitis
  • Cyanide Poisoning
  • Actinomycosis
  • Diabetic Wounds of the Lower Extremities (Wagner Grade III or higher)

Step 1: Initial Consultation
At your initial consultation, your physician will assess your medical history, and your wound, and prescribe a hyperbaric treatment regimen for you.

Step 2: Prior to your treatment
Following your initial consultation, we will seek insurance pre-approval for your treatments and contact you with a treatment start date. The total number of treatments will vary depending on your diagnosis.

Step 3: Your HBO treatment
Upon your arrival, we will check your pulse, temperature and blood pressure before each treatment, and review any concerns or questions.

Your hyperbaric treatment will last just over 90 minutes. HBO treatment is very similar to diving or flying in a plane. The only sensation you may feel is "fullness" in your ears. Our hyperbaric technicians will coach you on how to clear your ears. HBO therapy is considered very safe. Less than 5% of patients experience side effects such as minor ear discomfort, oxygen toxicity, or temporary vision changes.

  • You are expected to arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled HBO treatment. (If you have wound care scheduled as well, you are expected to arrive one hour before your HBO treatment.)
  • You should eat a good breakfast or lunch and take all of your prescribed medications.
  • No smoking 2 hours prior to your HBO treatment (this restricts your blood vessels).
  • Limit your caffeine intake prior to your HBO treatment.
  • Stay home if you are vomiting, have diarrhea, or have a fever.
  • Notify us if you cannot make your HBO treatment.
  • Diabetics should check their blood sugars at home and report these to the HBO nurse.
  • We will check your pulse, temperature and blood pressure before each treatment, and review any concerns or questions.

Multi-Place Chamber
The Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Sycamore Medical Center boasts the largest diameter hyperbaric chamber in the state of Ohio. This Class A chamber has seating capacity for twelve patients and the capability to "dive" to 165 feet (6 ATA). The uniqueness of the hyperbaric chamber is the presence of medical attendants, inside the chamber, seeing to the safety and comfort of each patient during the dive. Sycamore Medical Center has the distinction of having two (of the state's four) board certified Hyperbaric physicians.

During treatment, you are allowed 1 to 2 reading materials in the HBO chamber (no newspapers), and reading glasses. A blanket and bottle of water or juice are provided. The chamber is also equipped with flat screen televisions where movies are shown during treatment.


Single Chamber
Our wound care center at Fort Hamilton is equipped with a single person hyperbaric oxygen chamber. You lie on a bed that slides into an oxygen chamber. The clear chamber includes a microphone and speaker so you can speak with a trained wound healing staff member during the course of your treatment. During your treatment our technicians will provide you with blankets, water, and a movie to watch. We also have hyperbaric chambers at Kettering Medical Center to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy to inpatients and 24/7 emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy.