Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy FAQs

The Hyperbaric Oxygen program at Ocala Infectious Disease and Wound Center was developed to support the growing needs of our wound care patients. At 40 inches in diameter, our Perry Sigma 40 hyperbaric chamber is the world’s largest chamber in length and diameter, helping to increase patient comfort during treatments.

How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy work?

Oxygen is one of the most basic and essential elements required to sustain human life. It is also one of the most powerful and useful agents available to modern medicine toady. Your body’s tissues need an adequate supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is traumatized by injury, infection, or blockage in blood supply, tissue death can occur. Hyperbaric oxygen works by increasing the amount of oxygen inhaled in an environment under increased pressure resulting in high concentrations of oxygen being forced deep into the tissues.

Who can benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Scientific evidence has proven that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) works to treat a number of chronic conditions. First discovered as a treatment for decompression sickness, researchers have found that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can also be used in many other illnesses which require an increase in oxygen demand to heal tissue or create new blood vessels. Based on insurance coverage, below is a list of commonly approved conditions:

  • Sores and gangrene that will not heal or that are related to diabetes (Diabetic Ulcers)
  • Graft, Flap, or Amputation site which has not healed in a timely manner
  • Bone or tissue damage caused by radiation treatments (Osteonecrosis, Radionecrosis)
  • Bones infection unsuccessful to antibiotic treatment (Refractory osteomyelitis)
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia (due to accident/trauma)
  • Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs (limb reattachment)
  • Progressive necrotizing infections (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Sudden onset in loss of circulation in a limb (Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency)
  • Swelling or infection in the brain (Cerebral edema, Brain abscess)
  • Infections caused by oxygen hating bacteria like Clostridia or Actinomyces
  • Blockage of the retinal artery (blood vessel in the back of the eye)
  • Cyanide Poisoning
  • Severe anemia
  • Decompression illness
  • Air or Gas embolism
  • Acute carbon monoxide intoxication

How do I know if HBOT will benefit me?

Depending on the specific condition, hyperbaric oxygen can be used as a first line treatment in many acute problems, or in conjunction with other treatments that have not improved the underlying condition. Our doctors and nurse practitioners will work with you and your referring doctor to design the best plan of care possible.

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy feel?

The treatment is generally painless. Before going into the chamber, the patient puts on a hospital gown. Once they are lying comfortably on a stretcher, it will be slid into the chamber. After the door closes, the gentle “hiss” of the incoming oxygen used to pressurize the chamber will be heard.

As pressure develops in the chamber, the patient will notice a slight warming. They will also feel a fullness in their ears similar to that which is felt when flying in an airplane or diving underwater. When the chamber reaches the proper pressure, this will cease. The patient may now rest and watch TV during the treatment.

During decompression, the chamber becomes cooler and the patient will feel a slight popping sensation in their ears as they adjust to the changing pressure.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effect reported in about 20% of patients is temporary nearsightedness caused by the increase in blood oxygen levels. This typically resolves on its own approximately six to eight weeks after completing treatments.

What does the treatment consist of?

  • One treatment lasts approximately 90 minutes to two hours from start to finish.
  • Emergency conditions are generally treated with 1 to 10 treatments during the first week
  • Long-standing infections and other wounds may need 20 to 60 treatments over the course of several weeks
  • Patients receive one treatment daily, five days a week (weekdays), until the course of treatments is completed.

About Insurance

We accept most insurance plans at our center. Prior to treatment, insurance pre-certification will be obtained. Hyperbaric oxygen is a treatment which must be prescribed by a physician for a specific condition.