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Hyperbaric chamber: how it works, what are the benefits and what is it for. What is hyperbaric medicine and what are the associated risks and contraindications.
Hyperbaric medicine is based on the benefits of staying in an environment with controlled pressure: the pressure is greater than atmospheric pressure. Is calledhyperbaric oxygen therapy (OTI)and consists of the therapeutic use of oxygen (100% pure) at a pressure higher than the atmospheric one, this therapy makes use of particular "chambers" where temperature, pressure and oxygenation are controlled, therefore we speak of hyperbaric chambers. Therehyperbaric medicinewas born as a branch of underwater medicine.
Hyperbaric chamber: what it is
As stated, it is a physical place with controlled temperature, pressure and oxygenation. In particular, the pressure levels are far higher than those present in the environment.
Hyperbaric chamber: what it is for
THEbenefitslinked to hyperbaric medicine are many and all concern the oxygenation of tissues at controlled pressure. For this reason we speak ofhyperbaric oxygen therapy. What is hyperbaric therapy used for?
- Increase the amount ofoxygendissolved in the blood, so as to oxygenate the tissues more quickly. Especially useful in case of hemoglobin capacity disorders.
- Increased tissue tension ofoxygen. What does it mean in simple terms? That the erythrocytes of the blood (red blood cells) are able to pass even the semi-obstructed vascular layers.
- Increased capillary transudation, useful for deflating a vasogenic edema.
- Vasoconstriction action, useful in the treatment of cerebral edema, to remove stagnation of blood and organic fluids in the brain area.
- Increase the speed of biochemical reactions that lead to the formation of compounds with cytocidal action (superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical and singlet oxygen), useful for increasing the activity of leukocytes (corpuscles that are part of our immune defenses).
- Improvement of osteocyte function, neovascularization ... for this reason it can also be useful for slowing down the process of osteoporosis, osteomyelitis and osteonecrosis and in delays in the formation of callus.
- It carries out bacteriocidal and bacteriostatic activity not only through the leukocyte mechanisms already mentioned but also directly from free radicals and with highoxygencapable of eliminating Clostridium perfringens.
- To detoxify the body in case of continuous exposure to carbon monoxide, cyanides and other toxic methemoglobinizers that block cellular respiration.
- Increase in nerve conduction speed, useful against demyelinating diseases (myelopathies, panencephalitis, adrenomyeloneuropathy, Krabbe disease and many other disorders that thin the myelin sheath that surrounds many nerve fibers).
- Antispastic and analgesic action.
Hyperbaric chamber: benefits
Thanks tobenefitsjust listed, theiperbaric roomit can also be useful in case of skin or bone infections that cause tissue death, wounds that are slow to heal (radiation wounds, wounds in the presence of diabetes ...), sudden deafness, severe burns ... there are also applications with still results uncertain but promising that see the use of the hyperbaric chamber to treat allergies, improve conditions in the case of Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, cirrhosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and other experimental applications.
Hyperbaric chamber: how it works
Thereiperbaric room exploits the principle of oxygenation. Oxygen therapy consists in the administration, through special dispensers, of a highly concentrated gaseous mixture of oxygen.
Oxygen, in theiperbaric room, it is treated like other drugs, it is administered to obtain certain effects and the controlled pressure facilitates its diffusion in our body.
Oxygen reaches all the tissues of the body by exploiting an important vector: blood (in particular red blood cells). The blood, by supplying the tissues, provides all the metabolites they need to sustain and function at their best.
Hyperbaric chamber: contraindications and risks
Contraindications: the hyperbaric chamber must be excluded in the case of pneumothorax or COPD because in these situations, excessive oxygenation can cause the development of fatal medical conditions (penumothoracic tension). Another contraindication concerns the pharmacological basis: people who have recently interrupted or are following drug therapies with cisplatin, disulfiram, mafenide or dixorubicin, cannot undergohyperbaric therapy.
There are also other contraindications that should be discussed with your specialist doctor, among others barotraumatic otitis, high fever, certain types of cancer.
In the past, the risks were considerable, today, the use of current oneshyperbaric chambersis a safe medical practice as stated by the Undersea Medical Society.