Any physician can refer a patient for this treatment.
The hyperbaric chamber is well-known to SCUBA divers as a treatment for decompression sickness or the "bends," but it is less known to the public as a cutting-edge medical treatment. The hyperbaric chamber, part of the Parkland Health Center Wound Care Center, is used in the healing process when a wound has not responded to more conventional treatments.
The hyperbaric chamber assists in the healing process by forcing a higher concentration of oxygen into wounds, speeding recovery time. The patient is immersed in an environment of 100 percent oxygen that is pressurized to two to three times greater than normal pressure. At Parkland Health Center, the chamber will be used to treat diabetic and other wounds that have not responded to traditional treatments. Depending on the patient’s diagnosis, a typical treatment schedule consists of 20 to 40 treatments over four to eight weeks, with each treatment lasting about two hours.
The first part of the treatment is called "dive time," when the pressure is slowly increased for 10 to 15 minutes inside the chamber. This is described as similar to the feeling one has when descending on a dive underwater, or when descending to a lower altitude in an airplane. The patient must frequently equalize their ears during the dive.
The next phase of the treatment takes about 90 minutes, and during this part the patient may watch television or a DVD, sleep, or talk to the professional standing on the outside of the chamber while they relax in the "bath" of pure oxygen. The chamber is roomy and completely clear as though the patient is simply inside a glass room. Periodically, the patient is asked to take an "air break" through a mask designed for breathing regular air (instead of oxygen).
The last 10 minutes are spent "surfacing" as the pressure is slowly and safely brought back to normal, completing the treatment.
Call 573.760.8396 for more information.