Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatment at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center
All living tissue needs oxygen to survive.
Without oxygen, the cells of the body quickly die. Unfortunately ,the excesses of living and often injury can compromise the body's ability to transport oxygen. This can be due to clogged arteries (Atherosclerosis), scarred blood vessels, which occurs with Radiation Injury, swelling due to Necrotizing Infections, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, vascular obstruction seen in Diving Accidents or due to injury such as Crush Injuries or Frostbite.
Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO2) uses a couple of simple laws of physics and chemistry to provide huge amounts of oxygen to oxygen starved tissue. By pressurizing the environment, and the gas that we breathe, we can pack the oxygen molecules tighter together, increasing the amount of oxygen we inhale with every breath. The red blood cells, which usually carry most of the oxygen in the blood, are quickly filled and the extra oxygen is dissolved directly in the plasma, the liquid portion of the blood. How much extra? Breathing air at sea level, you might have about 90 mmHg of oxygen in your blood. HBO2 can increase that by as much as 15-20 times! So even though a limited amount of blood gets through to the oxygen starved tissue, that which does is chocked full of oxygen, which the tissue greatly needs. Magic? Nope, just physics.
The Chamber of Life
The three cylindrical pressure chambers measure eight feet across and are linked in an L-shape. Two are equipped to treat critically ill patients and together can accommodate up to 18 patients and six clinical staff. The third chamber links the two patient treatment chambers and allows staff and equipment access without affecting treatments in progress. A dedicated group of physicians, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and technicians provide constant hands-on care. Outside, at a wide panel of gauges, technicians trained in hyperbaric medicine, control the chamber's environment, increasing the atmospheric pressure until it is more than double the outside pressure. Inside, patients are attended to throughout their treatment by our hyperbaric staff. By providing patient care in the chamber we are uniquely equipped to treat the most sick and critically ill patients. Our facility delivers between 3000-4000 patient treatments each year.