Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a form of therapy where the patient breaths 100% oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure, usually at pressures greater than 1.9 Atmospheres Absolute (90 Kilopascals). This is the only method where oxygen in the tissues can be increased to therapeutic levels. This can only be achieved by exposing the total patient’s to this increased pressure by placing them inside a pressure chamber, usually called a hyperbaric chamber or recompression chamber.
Types of Hyperbaric Chambers: There are two types of ‘clinical’ hyperbaric chambers.
Multiplace chambers are larger chambers where more than one patient is treated at once. The chamber is pressurized with air (21% oxygen) and the patient breathes 100% oxygen via a breathing circuit such as an oxygen hood or an oxygen mask. Multiplace chambers should always have a Nurse Attendant inside the chamber with the patient(s).
Monoplace chambers are single occupancy chambers where only the patient enters the chamber. These chambers are pressurized using 100% oxygen so there is usually no need for an oxygen breathing circuit.
Note: Health professionals consider pressures less than 1.9.ATA, or pressure without oxygen, should not be described as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, as neither pressure, nor oxygen alone, can deliver the clinical benefit possible with both, combined. There are some who claim clinical benefit by placing a patient in a ‘pressure chamber’ where the pressure is less than 1.9ATA and/or deliver less than 100% oxygen – this should not be regarded as HBOT.