Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is a therapy, in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen intermittently while inside a therapy
chamber at a pressure higher than sea level pressure (i.e., >1 atmosphere absolute; atm abs). It can be viewed as the new application of an old, established technology to help resolve certain recalcitrant, expensive, or otherwise hopeless medical problems. In certain circumstances, it represents the primary therapy modality while in others it is an adjunct to surgical or pharmacologic interventions.
Therapy can be carried out in either a mono or multiplace chamber. The former accommodates a single patient; the entire chamber is pressurized with 100%oxygen, and the patient breathes the ambient chamber oxygen directly. The latter holds two or more people (patients, observers, and/or support personnel); the chamber is pressurized with compressed air while the patients breathe 100% oxygen via masks, head hoods, or endotracheal tubes. According to the UHMS definition and the determination of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other third party carriers, breathing 100% oxygen at 1 atmosphere of pressure or exposing isolated parts of the body to 100% oxygen does not constitute HBO2 therapy. The patient must receive the oxygen by inhalation within apressurized chamber. Current information indicates that pressurization should be to 1.4 atm abs or higher.
The following indications are approved uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as defined by the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee. The Committee Report can be purchased directly through the UHMS.