Hyperbaric Medicine

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the process of administering 100% Oxygen to a patient in an environment of increased surrounding atmospheric pressure. This is done in a specially engineered enclosure called a Hyperbaric Chamber which is designed to withstand an increased internal pressure. The purpose of delivering 100% Oxygen in this environment is to provide high concentration of oxygen to the body. This is effective in various medical and surgical illnesses and conditions. This form of treatment is able to be used as a PRIMARY treatment (Decompression Illness) or as an ADDITIONAL Treatment with other medical interventions such as antibiotics or surgery.

Generally Hyperbaric Oxygen is used for the Treatment of Diving Related Conditions like ecompression Illness and Gas Embolism. However, the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT) in the management of non-healing diabetic wounds opens a whole new dimension in limb salvage – ie preventing limb amputations and improving the ones quality of life.

Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) together with intensive wound management offers a new horizon to the management of chronic non-healing wounds or ulcers.For patients where conventional wound care techniques have not resulted in optimal benefit, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has shown to promote new tissue growth, fights infection and improves circulation to the affected area. Thereby enhancing wound healing. Thus reducing the risk of complications namely-limb amputations. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in conjunction with adequate wound care, medical and surgical management is often able to result in better healing in the numerous difficult wounds and ulcers. HBOT is also able to manage severe soft tissue and bone infections. It can also provide the bridge to the management of severe trauma that may otherwise result in limb amputations.

Diabetic Ulcers after Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

This increase of oxygen delivery enables more oxygen to be dissolved in the plasma of the blood. Thus resulting in increased oxygen delivery to the tissues which in turn results in improved healing mechanism and helps the body fights infection which is the basic mechanism of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and wound healing: With Hyperbaric Oxygen, there is a 10 to 15-fold increase in oxygen dissolved in the plasma aided by an increase in the oxygen diffusion gradient across the tissues. This results in elevated tissue oxygen concentration for a period of 2 to 4 hours post treatment with a significant (20%) reduction in edema of the affected area and an accelerated rate of capillary formation (about 20%) together with collagen deposition (angiogenesis). This phenomena supports the tissues viability till collateral circulation is established. The high oxygen environment also facilitates white blood cell killing mechanism in an ischeamic environment which is further aided by toxin inactivation and inhibition of bacteria (a bacteriostatic effect on the microbes). Hyperoxygenation also aids the transport of antibiotics (namely- aminoglycosides) across the bacteria cell wall.

At Flinders EMA, we are able to manage the vaious conditions that require treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy- e.g.: Decompression Sickness, Cerebral Artery Gas Embolism, Chronic non-healing wounds etc and we have access to Hyperbaric Facilities both locally and within the region.

Our Doctors are trained both locally and overseas. They have the relevant experience and qualifications in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine (Australia, USA, UK), Maritime Medicine, Emergency Life Support and Critical Care Support for both Trauma and Cardiac Conditions.