Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: A guide for patients and providers

Interior of the UI Hospitals & Clinics hyperbaric chamber

How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatments use a combination of elevated ambient pressure and breathing in concentrated oxygen to greatly increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. This elevated oxygen concentration allows oxygenation of tissues that are not getting enough oxygen at baseline, encourages new blood vessels to grow into these oxygen deprived tissues, and helps the body eliminate certain kinds of bacteria.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy takes place in a chamber that resembles a small submarine. While the chamber itself is not immersed in water, the pressures inside it are like those experienced at underwater depths.

Hyperbaric oxygen equipment at UI Hospitals & Clinics

These equipment and services at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Hyperbaric Medicine Facility set it apart from most others in a wide region:

  • Our hyperbaric chamber is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • We offer emergency treatment for people with life-threatening injuries.
  • UI Hospitals & Clinics is comprehensive, all aspects of an injury and any complications that might arise can be treated here.
  • We operate a six-person chamber. Going in with other patients and a therapist builds comradery.
  • All types of patients can be treated in our chamber. We can fit intensive care unit patients and fit all of their equipment.
Last reviewed: 
September 2017

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