Hyperbaric Oxygen: a Unique Method for Healing Patients

According to a story from Michigan Medicine Headlines, Domino’s Farms is the home of a treatment center with unique capabilities: the Michigan Medicine Comprehensive Wound Care Clinic. One of the special offerings of this clinic is a multiplace hyperbaric oxygen chamber. This chamber is used for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which can help improve the healing capabilities of a patient’s body.

Diving Deep

The oxygen chamber exposes patients to unique surroundings; the chamber is pressurized to 2.2 atmospheres absolute (ATA). This level of pressure is comparable to a dive 40 feet deep into the ocean. In addition, a hood that is placed over the patient’s head allows them to breathe 100 percent oxygen (the normal atmosphere is 20.95 percent oxygen). 

Many places that offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy only have chambers suited for a single person, which has caused many patient complaints about claustrophobia. Such chambers are termed ‘monoplace,’ but the chamber at Domino’s Farms has space for two staff members and ten patients to receive treatment at once. This both allows for more patients to get the treatment and makes for a more pleasant experience for them. Patients wear the hood for 30 minutes, take a 10 minute break, and then put the hood back on. This process is repeated three times per treatment session. The clinic holds one “dive” in the morning and another in the evening each day.

Improving the Body’s Healing Ability

The altered pressure and abundant oxygen supply are the key to the therapy’s effectiveness. Since the body is able to carry more oxygen, the body’s natural healing processes are accelerated. There are 14 different diagnoses that are approved for treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These range from diabetic ulcers and radiation cystitis to rare conditions such as osteomyelitis. These are all conditions in which the body’s normal healing process often fails to function effectively, leading to wounds that heal very slowly or not at all.

Some patients come to receive treatment five times per week for six week intervals, which allows many of them to get to know one another.

“It helps to have these relationships and get to know other people who are going through similar experiences,” says David Womboldt, a patient that has received the therapy at the clinic. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be a viable option for patients who are having difficulty with wound healing and are seeking other methods.

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