We start the treatment if the patient is eligible for HBOT. For maximum effectiveness of HBOT, treatments are given daily (ideally 5-6 times/week).
Due to the temperature change, layered clothing is ideal. It is advisable to eat a few snacks before treatment, during treatment those who are sensitive may experience hunger or a minimal drop in blood sugar. It is advisable to bring books, newspapers and drinks with you. Arrive on time, at least 10 minutes before the treatment. Please leave non-pressure resistant objects (mobile phone, pen, watch, remote control key, etc.) outside. Toilet use is recommended before treatment. The use of a foot bag is necessary to avoid contaminated air entering the chamber space and being stirred up when the pressure is increased.
Oxygen itself is not combustible, but it is very good at feeding the fire. In the HBOT chamber, therefore, fire safety rules are very strict: patients should wear as little clothing and make-up containing artificial fibres as possible. Do not bring in unnecessary books or newspapers. Care must be taken to ensure that the masks always fit the face correctly and that oxygen does not escape. Do not talk with a mask on your face. Objects that can cause sparks (large key chains, electrical appliances, handfuls of coins, lighters) should always be left outside. In the event of fire, a high-potential fire safety device will be activated immediately.
During HBOT treatments, a qualified attendant is present in the chamber to assist patients with any questions or problems. A series of safety measures govern the course of the treatment. The chamber technician is responsible for the technical safety of the treatment. Before and after each treatment, he/she checks that the equipment is in good working order. There are pre-established protocols and solutions to deal with situations that may arise during treatments (e.g. power cuts). A respirator mask is selected that best suits the patient's face. During treatment, therapy time can be spent sitting in comfortable armchairs (lying on a bed if necessary).
Therapy starts with a slow increase in pressure, accompanied by a buzzing sound. The chamber door is hermetically sealed by the internal pressure. You do not feel the pressure change on your body. The only area where we do feel the pressure change is in the middle ear. Since the ability to compensate for the pressure change in the middle ear is essential to participate in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we pay close attention to this. During the first 15 minutes of treatment, as long as the pressure rise continues, it is necessary to almost continuously equalise the pressure in the middle ear. If necessary, the technique of equalisation is taught in detail to the patient by the staff before the treatment. Pressure equalisation is only required at the beginning of the treatment, during the first 15 minutes.
The increase in pressure is accompanied by a warming of the air. The therapeutic pressure is reached slowly, in 15 minutes, which in most cases is plus 1.5 or 2.5 atmospheres in total. This is the pressure corresponding to a water depth of 15 metres, so for simplicity we express our pressure in metres. From this point on, no more middle ear pressure equalisation is needed. Oxygen breathing begins.
With the help of an attendant, patients put on an oxygen mask and breathe 100% medical pure oxygen. The oxygen is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Breathing is unforced and is done in the usual way. Breathing through the nose is recommended to prevent drying of the mucous membranes of the mouth and upper airways. Avoid catching your breath. In case of subjective discomfort, report it to the chamber attendant.
Every 30 minutes we take an oxygen breathing break, the masks are removed. At this time you can talk and drink fluids. Do not talk with a mask on your face, this can cause oxygen leakage and air ingress. If a problem should arise during the therapy, a hyperbaric doctor or other hyperbaric specialist can be quickly asked by the chamber attendant through the personnel airlock. Patients can be brought in or taken out of the room during the treatment for individual or compelling reasons. Any kind of medication or other small equipment (mask, glasses, handkerchief, etc.) can be quickly brought in through the material airlock. A microphone can be used to talk to people outside. A monitor in the chamber monitors the treatment in the chamber.
At the end of the therapy period, the pressure is slowly reduced, also with a low buzzing sound. This time, the change in pressure in the ears due to the reduction will self-equalise, thanks to the anatomy of the ear canal. The oxygen masks remain constantly then. The drop in pressure is accompanied by a drop in ambient temperature. At 5 metres, we pause for 1 minute and then continue to reduce the pressure. Breathing oxygen stops at 3 metres. During the pressure reduction, the temperature drops.
As soon as the pressure inside the chamber and the pressure outside becomes equal - i.e. 1 atmosphere - the chamber door can be opened.
After the treatment is finished, you can go home. Drowsiness, temporary increase in appetite may occasionally be observed.