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Hyperbaric medicine

Hyperbaric medicine uses increased atmospheric pressure as a treatment method. This commonly involves hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), to provide increased amounts of oxygen to the body and reinforce healing.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Virginia

If you have a non-healing wound, hyperbaric medicine may be a solution.

At HCA Virginia Health System, our doctors offer skilled wound care. We use hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and hyperbaric chambers to aid healing. Our goal is to get you back to health as soon as possible.

Conditions we treat with hyperbaric medicine

Hyperbaric therapy is used to treat several medical conditions, including:

  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Brain abscesses
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Crushing injuries
  • Decompression sickness
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Gangrene
  • Infections that cause tissue death
  • Nonhealing wounds
  • Radiation injuries
  • Scuba diving accidents
  • Severe anemia
  • Severe burns
  • Skin grafts at risk of tissue death
  • Sudden, painless vision loss
  • Sudden deafness

Hyperbaric treatment we provide

Our physicians, certified wound care nurses and clinical hyperbaric managers are specially trained in wound management and hyperbaric medicine.

What is HBOT?

We are proud to provide HBOT, a unique treatment option for healing wounds and other medical conditions. HBOT is an advanced type of wound care treatment. It involves breathing pure oxygen in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. This treatment can be administered in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

What is a hyperbaric chamber?

Used to administer HBOT, the hyperbaric chamber is a sealed, pressurized environment. As you breathe the pure oxygen within the chamber, oxygen is pushed into your blood plasma. The increased amount of oxygen in your blood stimulates blood vessel growth in damaged tissues. It can also help fight some types of infection.

Side effects of HBOT

Most patients experience no pain or discomfort during or after HBOT. You may feel fullness in your ears similar to what you experience during an airplane flight. Your doctor will discuss the possible side effects of HBOT with you before you receive treatment.

Care for decompression sickness (DCS)

HBOT is also used to treat DCS, and our experienced team is able to provide fast, lifesaving care for this condition.

What is decompression sickness?

DCS occurs when the body is exposed to sudden changes in altitude or air pressure. These changes cause gas bubbles to form, which block the flow of blood.

DCS may be caused by the following:

  • A fast ascent into a high altitude from a low altitude
  • A long dive or multiple scuba dives in one day
  • A sudden exit from a high pressure or hyperbaric chamber
  • Diving in extremely cold water without proper protective gear
  • Flying after scuba diving
  • Rising too quickly to the surface from deep-sea scuba diving

Symptoms of DCS can include a headache, rash, itchy skin, nausea, joint pain and swelling. If you experience any symptoms of DCS, please seek immediate treatment. This is extremely important, as this condition can be fatal if not treated quickly.