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HBO Nuggets of the Week
A forum to discuss interesting aspects of hyperbaric medicine.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
HBO Nugget 10

Referring a wound care patient for hyperbaric oxygen therapy requires a commitment of time.  Typically, the patient would require 20 to 40 treatments or “dives,” with 30 being the average amount of treatments. The patient must arrive before the treatment can start to have their vital signs taken and their glucose checked if they are diabetic and also be screened for safety.  Contraband cannot be allowed in the chamber. Recall that 3 things are required for a fire: fuel, ignition source, and an accelerant. For example, street clothes, hand warmers, cell phones, and hairspray are not permitted in the chamber.

Pressurization, or descent, usually takes about 10 minutes. After arrival at the required depth, the standard treatment time is 90 minutes. The patient must then ascend, or depressurize, which again takes about 10 minutes.  Total time in the hyperbaric chamber (monoplace) is usually 110 minutes.  Clearly, the amount of time needed exceeds 2 hours.  However, for many, the benefits of having a wound healed and closing the door to infection far outweigh any time inconvenience.

About the Author

Frank L. Ross, MD, FACS
Frank L. Ross, MD, FACS, is Associate Director of the Helen S. and Martin L. Kimmel Hyperbaric and Advanced Wound Healing Center at NYU Langone Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at NYU School of Medicine. He is board certified in General Surgery and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. He is an associate member of the American Professional Wound Care Association, American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. He is also an advanced open water diver with extensive diving experience.