Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? 

HBOT is the administration of 100% oxygen in a pressurised environment that exerts up to three times normal atmospheric pressure.  The regular air we breathe contains 21% oxygen.  When there is poor or restricted blood flow, red blood cells lose their ability to transfer oxygen. The combination of increasing pressure and the breathing of 100 % oxygen causes large amounts of plasma to be diffused from the plasma into tissues, cells, organs, brain cells and bone structures.

This oxygen-rich plasma travels past restrictions, and diffuses up to three times further into the tissue.  The pressurised environment typically provides the body with 10-15 times its normal supply of oxygen to help repair tissue damaged by the original restriction. The increased oxygen levels in the tissue stimulate healing processes including the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), the migration of white blood cells, and proliferation of fibroblasts, thus allowing the body to change the disease processes

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

  • Is non-invasive
  • Has few potential side effects
  • Assists in resolution of hypoxia
  • Is an adjunctive treatment
  • May enhance the effectiveness of traditional and complimentary therapies
  • Addresses tissue hypoxia
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases the production of collagen
  • Improves immune systems effectiveness
  • Assists in the reduction of swelling
  • Destroys harmful bacteria
  • Improves effectiveness pf pharmaceutical and complimentary medicines
  • Increases white blood cell production
  • Enhances the growth of new blood vessels
  • Improves blood flow

“Off Label” Hyperbaric Oxygen Indications

ICU, critical care and diving Indications are treated in hospital based HBOT Chambers and there are six indications that are funded by Medicare in Australia.  NON-Medicare covered conditions are classified as “off label”.

These conditions are considered Investigatory and are compiled by the International Hyperbaric Medical Association. It is generally understood that HBOT does not directly treat these conditions but targets the physiological processes that may be contributing to them:

  • ​Auto Immune Diseasee
  • Amputation Recovery
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Closed Head Injury
  • Diabetic Conditions
  • Post Stroke/ Heart attack recovery
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Spinal Injury and Sports Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Tick borne diseases
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Migraine / Headaches
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Wound Care/Post-Surgical Healing

The six Indications as marked below are reimbursed by Medicare in Australian Hospitals only. **
The full list of 14 Indications are reimbursed by Government Funded Healthcare in the USA.

  1. Air or gas embolism **
  2. Decompression sickness **
  3. Necrotizing soft tissue infections **
  4. Delayed radiation injury (soft tissue and bone necrosis) **
  5. Diabetic Ulcers **
  6. Enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds **
  7. Carbon monoxide poisoning and CO poisoning complicated by cyanide poisoning
  8. Clostridal myositis and myonecrosis, (gas gangrene)
  9. Crush injury, compartment syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemia
  10. Exceptional blood loss (anemia)
  11. Intracranial abscess, actinomycosis
  12. Refractory osteomyelitis (Infected bone)
  13. Skin grafts and flaps (compromised)
  14. Thermal burns

HBOT is a referral treatment. A consultation is scheduled for patient evaluation using criteria established by the International Hyperbaric Medical Association and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

All material in this information is provided for educational purposes only.  Always seek the advice of a hyperbaric doctor, your practitioner or qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding specific medical indications.  The information provided does not constitute a medical recommendation and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

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IHMA – list of treatable “off label” indications

UHMS – List of Indications Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine