For wounds that won’t heal through traditional treatments and a number of other conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help. This treatment consists of breathing 100 percent oxygen at two to three times the normal atmospheric pressure in a pressurized glass-enclosed chamber.
Breathing pure oxygen effectively delivers an increased supply of oxygen to your body’s tissues. It encourages the formation of new blood vessels and stimulates cells to help promote healing. Use of hyperbaric therapy and other treatments can possibly save a limb from needing amputation.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat a variety of diagnoses, including:
- Acute limb ischemia (inadequate blood flow and oxygen to a specific part of the body)
- Chronic bone infections
- Delayed radiation injuries (including wounds, bleeding, necrosis, and other conditions)
- Compromised skin grafts or flaps
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Acute skin necrosis
- Severe anemia, when blood transfusion is impossible due to religious or medical issues
- Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
Planning and Recovery
Patients are carefully evaluated by a hyperbaric medicine physician, who develops an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Patients with complicated wounds or poor circulation may be candidates for hyperbaric oxygen treatment, but only after trying other treatments first.
Most treatments are scheduled for two hours either once or twice a day, depending on the nature of your condition. The number of treatments varies as well and could number between 10 to 60 sessions.
Our hyperbaric chambers are some of the largest full body chambers available (41 inches in diameter) and provide patients with a 360-degree visual field. During therapy, you can comfortably sit up, watch a movie, listen to music, or sleep. A hyperbaric technician is present during your entire treatment, and can easily talk back and forth with you. We are also the only hyperbaric oxygen therapy center in Washington D.C. that accepts emergency patients.
Throughout your course of treatment, our hyperbaric oxygen therapy team will keep in touch with your referring doctor. Our specialists will work closely with your doctor to discuss your progress and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs and health history.
Why Choose Us?
MedStar Georgetown’s Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine is the only center in Washington, D.C., accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Our dedicated team of technicians, nurses, and physicians have special training in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and the program has a 97 percent success rate in saving limbs from amputation.
Our location inside MedStar Georgetown University Hospital means you’ll benefit from efficient outpatient and inpatient services for a broad spectrum of hard-to-treat wounds and other conditions. Our center has four single-person HBOT chambers and the capacity to treat up to 16 patients every day. This helps to streamline care delivery—and offers our patients services with little or no wait time.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a physician ordered therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen while lying in a pressurized chamber. Therapy may consist of 20 to 30 treatments depending on your diagnosis.
Hyperbaric therapy can be dated back 350 years. The first chamber was created in the late 1600s, but the first clinical use is dated to the 1800s. During the 1930s the military used HBO therapy to treat diving injuries. It was not until the 1960s hyperbaric oxygen therapy started being used in clinical settings.
hyperbaric oxygen therapy modalities allow for increased oxygen within the blood supply. Due to the increased levels of oxygen to the body, this allows for the creation of more blood cells. When the blood circulates it delivers more red blood cells to the wound promoting quicker and more effective healing.
*Please notify your technician if you are experiencing blurred vision during your treatments. Your vision should return to normal after the end of therapy. Seizures are very rare and if occurred cause no permanent damage*