The body’s tissues need adequate oxygen to function properly. A lack of oxygen will make it difficult for tissues that are harmed to survive, leading to persistent wounds or infections. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatment involves inhaling 100% oxygen for a specific amount of time and at a specific pressure.

It’s considered the main or secondary therapy option for various infections, including fungal infections, gas gangrene, diabetic foot infections, refractory osteomyelitis, necrotizing fasciitis, neurosurgical infections, and more. HBOT’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to play a key role in reducing tissue damage and infection spread.

This article explains everything you should know about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help with treating chronic infections.

How HBOT Aids Against Infections

Several studies have shown the efficacy of HBOT in the treatment of patients with infectious disorders. In a study published on Science Direct, HBOT was found to significantly increase blood O2 concentrations, which are generally quite low under normal meteorological conditions but sufficient to meet the primary needs of normal tissue.

Also, the arterial blood oxygen pressure can rise to 2000 mmHg during HBOT, which is beneficial in the repair of inflammatory and microcirculatory illnesses.

Other benefits of HBOT for infection treatment include.

Strengthens immune system

An HBOT chamber’s high-oxygen environment can boost your body’s natural immune response’s efficiency and efficacy. In lab experiments, HBOT has been found to lessen autoimmune symptoms such as erythema. The oxygen HBOT provides helps your white blood cells kill bacteria, which is extremely beneficial in fighting persistent infections like flesh-eating infections and deep bone infections.

Reduces Skin inflammation

Inflammation is a common effect of infections. HBOT has been shown in studies to help patients with severe inflammation and swelling, particularly in the limbs. The oxygen-rich environment created by hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves blood flow and delivers oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to inflamed and swollen tissues. HBOT also promotes angiogenesis, which aids in the healing of chronic skin injuries.

Common infective treatments using HBOT

Chronic

1. Diabetic foot infections

Diabetic foot infection (DFIs) is a common risk in diabetic patients and increases the risk of morbidity and mortality. DFIs can range in severity from superficial paronychia to a serious bone infection.

HBOT is one of the current therapeutic options for Diabetic foot ulcers. It has been proven to significantly enhance the frequency of healing in diabetic foot infections, as well as reduce the need for amputations and debridement, both of which require surgical equipment.

study on HBOT antimicrobial mechanisms and clinical application for infections found that more than ten sessions of HBOT accelerated wound healing by 78.3 percent.

2. Necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTIs)

NSTIs are rare but deadly bacteria with the potential to kill muscles, skin, and underlying tissue. Anyone can become infected with the bacteria that cause necrotizing soft tissue diseases when a tiny scrape or cut becomes contaminated with saliva or soil.

HBOT has been linked to improving survival with NSTIs. A study found that HBOT significantly reduced the mortality rate of patients with NSTI, despite the increased cost and extended hospitalization stay.

3. Osteomyelitis Infection

Osteomyelitis is a type of bone infection and inflammation that occurs when a fungal or bacterial infection enters a bone through the circulation or surrounding tissue. It is estimated that 2–5 per 10,000 people in the United States have it.

The scarcity of blood in the bones and the fact that medicines often fail to penetrate the bones make treating osteomyelitis quite challenging.

HBOT has been shown to improve the efficiency of refractory osteomyelitis treatment when combined with other treatments. Infection was inhibited in 60–85 percent of patients with refractory osteomyelitis after using HBOT as an additional treatment.

4. Fungal infections

Fungal infections are caused by a fungus that infects body tissue, causing infections that start on the skin and spread to the tissue, bones, and organs, or affect the entire body. According to recent estimates, about 3 million people suffer from chronic or invasive fungal infections, which result in over 600,000 deaths each year.

HBOT can be used to treat Lyme disease and other bacterial and fungal illnesses. These organisms are killed when exposed to the high-oxygen environment of an HBOT chamber. Also, HBOT has been proven to be effective in combating Aspergillosis and Zygomycosis in some in vitro and in vivo studies.

5. Surgical Site Infections

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are infections that develop in the area of the body where the surgery was performed after it has been completed. SSI is a primary cause of hospital morbidity, which leads to longer stays in the hospital, higher hospital costs, higher re-operation rates, and even higher fatality rates.

Pre-surgery HBOT was found to prevent the occurrence of deep SSIs neuromuscular scoliosis surgery and promote wound healing. 

HBOT is also recommended for the decrease of SSI incidence and other infection prevention techniques, particularly during clean-contaminated operations such as colon surgery.

What Can You Expect From HBOT?

During the therapy, you’ll enter a special chamber where you can breathe pure oxygen above normal air pressure. It can be a single-person chamber where you lie down or sit on a bed.

The air pressure is gradually increased to a level that is two to three times greater than normal. This allows your lungs to take in a lot more oxygen and your blood to absorb a lot more oxygen than when you’re just breathing normally.

The goal is to provide adequate oxygen to the circulation for tissue repair and proper physiological function.

Even when the therapy is over, the transient high oxygen levels boost tissues oxygen levels with repeated, regular treatments. HBOT must be prescribed by a physician. The number of treatments you receive will be determined by your individual health needs after an assessment.

Are You Ready To Get Started?

Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy has an experienced clinical team that is accessible to answer any questions you may have about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and its facilities.

They feel that their customers are entitled to the best. They strive to improve a patient’s healing potential by providing creative, individualized, and compassionate care.

To get started with HBOT, call their office today at (702) 476-4356 to learn how HBOT can help you combat infections.