Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Administration of 100% oxygen at >1 atm (typically 2–3 atm)
  • Mechanisms of action:
    • Increases oxygen availability at the cellular level:
      • Breathing 100% oxygen at 3 atm supplies enough dissolved oxygen to support life without hemoglobin.
    • Compresses formed gas bubbles (in cases of air embolism or decompression sickness)
  • 2 types of hyperbaric oxygen chambers:
    • Monoplace:
      • Accommodates 1 supine patient
      • Technician outside the chamber for monitoring
      • Compressed with 100% oxygen
    • Multiplace:
      • Holds multiple patients
      • Holds attendants who “dive” with the patients
      • Airlocks available for medication/equipment transfer outside of the chamber
      • Compressed with air—patients breath oxygen by face mask, endotracheal tube, or face hood.

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