Conditions Commonly Treated With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Sharp's Hyperbaric Medicine Center treats certain conditions that are set by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. They include:

Actinomycosis (Infection)
Actinomycosis is a chronic infection, commonly of the face and neck, that produces abscesses and open-draining sinuses. Actinomycosis is usually caused by an anaerobic (disliking oxygen) bacterium called Actinomyces israelii. This is a common and normally non-disease-causing organism found in the nose and throat. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works well to kill the anaerobic bacterium.

Acute Carbon Monoxide Intoxication
Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin more than 200 times more readily than oxygen. When someone suffers from carbon monoxide poisoning, their blood can't carry enough oxygen because it is displaced by carbon dioxide. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can flush the carbon monoxide from the body and restore oxygen flow to the areas that need it.

Chronic Refractory Osteomyelitis
Refractory osteomyelitis is a chronic bone infection that has persisted or recurred after appropriate interventions or acute osteomyelitis that has not responded to accepted management techniques.

Crush Injuries and Acute Traumatic Ischemia
When there is a severe injury to a limb and the circulation of the extremity becomes compromised, portions of or the entire extremity may be at risk of amputation. Prompt hyperbaric oxygen therapy can reduce swelling to the area, oxygenate the injured extremity and shorten overall recovery time.

Cyanide Poisoning
Cyanide can inhibit the bloods ability to carry oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy dissolves oxygen into the bloodstream, thereby reducing the effects of the poison.

Decompression Illness
A SCUBA diver can suffer from decompression illness if the extra nitrogen that is dissolved in his or her body comes out of solution and forms bubbles in the body. Hyperbaric oxygen can force the trouble-causing bubbles back into solution and help the injured diver heal.

Diabetic Wounds
Some diabetic wounds may respond well to hyperbaric oxygen and may be treatable, if they meet specific criteria.

Gas Embolism
If a gas bubble is introduced into the bloodstream it could find its way into the brain and produce strokelike symptoms. Prompt hyperbaric oxygen therapy can force the gas embolism back into solution and oxygenate any areas that were deprived of oxygen.

Progressive Necrotizing Infections
Necrotizing infections are an extreme emergency that must be treated immediately. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used as to support surgical and antibiotic treatment.

Preservation of Compromised Skin Grafts
Hyperbaric oxygen can help maximize the viability of the compromised tissue thereby reducing the need for re-grafting or repeat procedures.

Radiation Tissue Damage
After radiation treatment for malignancy, a small percentage of patients develop soft tissue or bone necrosis. Some damage is progressive and may present well after the radiation treatments are done. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy must be part of an overall treatment plan in close coordination with the appropriate specialist.

For More Information
To learn more about the Hyperbaric Medicine Center, call the program directly at 619-740-4164.

To learn more about Sharp's wound healing services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for a San Diego wound care doctor or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.