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The science behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy

You have probably read about or heard of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. But have you ever wondered just how it worked?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing 100% pure oxygen whilst sitting in our pressurised chamber. The chamber simulates the pressure at approximately 2 atmospheres (2 ATA) under water. There is, of course, no water involved in this process and the whole process is non-invasive and pain-free.

Due to the increase in pressure, the patient will breathe 10 to 20 times more oxygen into their body. Your blood then carries this oxygen throughout your body and delivers it to areas where it is needed, such as wounds or infected areas.

These areas need more oxygen to survive and heal. The increased level of oxygen in the blood arriving at these areas and result in temporally restoring normal levels of blood gasses and tissue function which help to promote healing and fighting off bacteria by stimulating new capillary growth.

When blood flows normally

The air we normally breathe is made up of 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen. When breathing the lungs transfer the oxygen to the red blood cells – via hemoglobin. The then oxygen-rich red blood cells are carried throughout the body by plasma, which travels through the blood vessels. The oxygen diffuses into the surrounding tissue and it is delivered where it is needed the most.

When blood flow is restricted

When there is a restriction (occlusion) in the blood flow due to injury or illness, the red blood cells block the blood vessel and are not able to transfer oxygen to the cells on the other side of the blockage. This can cause swelling and the area is starved of oxygen causing hypoxia – a lack of oxygen. When this happens the tissue begins to break down.

Hyperbaric oxygenation effects

Breathing 100% oxygen under pressure causes the oxygen to diffuse into the blood plasma. This oxygen-rich plasma is able to travel past the restriction, diffusing up to four times further into the tissue. The increased pressure helps to reduce swelling and discomfort while providing the body with 10 to 20 times the normal supply of oxygen to help repair tissue damaged by the original occlusion or subsequent hypoxic condition.

Regeneration of blood vessels

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy forces more oxygen into the tissue, which helps stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels develop, and the oxygenated blood cells start to flow to the affected areas. This then creates the optimal environment for the body’s natural healing processes to repair the damage.

The most common treatments that Wesley Hyperbaric treat are radiation damage to the bone and soft tissue and the treatment of non-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers or venous leg ulcers. The above process is proven to treat these conditions effectively as well as a range of other conditions.

If you are suffering from any of the conditions that are proven to be treatable with hyperbaric oxygen therapy then do get in touch with us. All you need is a referral from your GP or specialist and you can then come in for an assessment to start treatment straight away.

Radiation Cystitis – radiation injury to the bladder

Occasionally radiation treatment of bowel, prostate or uterine cancers can cause latent injury to the bladder wall resulting in bleeding.

Soft tissue radiation injury of the bladder is effectively treated with hyperbaric oxygen.

If you have had radiation treatment in the past and are now unfortunately suffering from cystitis because of it then we might be able to help you.

Radiation side effects are generally divided into two categories – those that happen during or just after the treatment, called acute reactions; and those that happen months or even
years after the treatment, called chronic complications.

These more chronic complications are usually caused by the interruption of nutrients (specifically oxygen) passing through blood vessel walls in the affected area. This is caused by a process of hardening of these vessel walls as a secondary effect of the radiation.

This vessel wall hardening does not allow for the oxygen to pass through to the tissues that require oxygen to repair themselves or, in severe cases, for tissue survival. Hyperbaric oxygen has been shown to re-grow new blood vessels in the affected area (to about 80% of normal), restoring the tissue’s ability to heal.

Radiation cystitis case study

This 85 year old male patient was referred by his urologist to Wesley Hyperbaric suffering the effects of radiation cystitis after  radiotherapy.

He undertook several procedures such as bladder washouts, blood transfusions and a biopsy – which confirmed radiation cystitis.

Two weeks after initial hospital admission and three days post surgery, HBOT was commenced with Wesley Hyperbaric. At that time continuous bladder irrigations continued with large clots and blood draining.

The therapy consisted of 40 daily treatments, each taking just under two hours, Monday to Friday.

Normal bladder
Abnormal bladder wall in Radiation Cystitis

A decrease in blood staining of the urine was noted after 2 weeks.

With no further adverse events, the indwelling urinary catheter was removed on day 26 of treatment and the patient discharged from hospital after 31 hyperbaric sessions.

He continued to complete his 40 sessions on an outpatient basis.

abnormal bladder
Image of normal internal bladder surface

At his six week follow up he reported significant improvement in urinary symptoms. By 6 months this had completely resolved.

He was no longer experiencing pain and reported being very satisfied with the outcome.

If you have had radiation treatment and are now suffering from the complications outlined above then please get in touch. A referral from your GP or specialist is all you need to get the ball rolling.

A brief history of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

A brief history of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

You may not have heard much about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  You may even think it’s a newly discovered medicine that is untested and unproven. You would certainly be wrong in thinking this as the science and practice behind what we do at Wesley Hyperbaric has been around for centuries.

Looking back as far as the 1600s we can see that the use of chambers to treat conditions by changing air pressure has been practiced. Back then it was a very new science, but a science none the less. As we have had advances in understanding and technology, we have seen how the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy has become a go-to treatment for certain conditions.

Let’s take a brief journey through the past to understand where hyperbaric oxygen therapy began and how we arrived at where we are today.

1662

The very first steps in hyperbaric oxygen therapy were taken by a British clergyman and physician called Nathaniel Henshaw. He believed that putting a patient under pressurised conditions would leave to therapeutic benefits to certain conditions of the lungs and even to aid better digestion. He created a chamber, which is called his ‘Domicilium’ and the air pressure was driven with organ bellows. At this point in time, this was very simple – there was only a change in pressure within the chamber and no form of pure oxygen was used, in fact at this time air has not been broken down into its constituent gases. With time and further discovery, this initial invention would improve.

1830’s and 40’s

Despite the work of Robert Boyle who gave us Boyle’s Law in the 1600s. There was still much to be understood about decompression and the effects on the human. Robert Boyle had conducted experiments on small animals to understand the behavior of gasses and how the animals reacted to the changes in pressure. But it wasn’t until the 1840’s that we would be affected by decompression illness when workers such as miners, divers and tunnel construction workers were being affected by air pressure in their working conditions.

Diver’s in Portsmouth, England were affected when working to clear the wreck of HMS Royal George which has sunk in 1787 and now was proving to be a hazard to the ever growing English naval fleet. Royal engineer William Pasley decided to test his new equipment – a hard hat diving bell on this project. Men would work underwater in this diving bells and be subject to pressure changes.

Similarly, during the 1830’s bridge construction workers, miners and tunnellers would use a sealed box filled with compressed air, called a caisson, to work underwater or at great depths. This allowed them to work safely with a supply of air. The workers became known as Caisson workers, or just ‘caissons’.

As the amount of work increased and more and more workers were using these Caissons, there was an increase in reports of illnesses such as dizziness, cramping, sharp pains in the joints and abdomen and even death. The understanding for this was not understood and it became known as mysterious malady. One strange mystery to them was that the symptoms seemed to disappear when the worker returned to the pressurised chamber. Of course, we now see these as classic symptoms of decompression illness or as it’s known to divers today ‘the bends’. The term ‘the bends’ was coined later on in the 1700s when similar workers working on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York were suffering from these symptoms, many workers have lost the ability to stand up straight and were left with a permanent bend to their stature.


It was 1878 when Paul Bert proposed that the caisson workers were affected by the pressure changing too quickly which then led to the illness.

Not too long after this understand recompression chambers were built at these construction project sites to help recompress workers suffering from this illness. Effectively creating what we have today in terms of a chamber created to aid suffering patients.

1870’s

By 1877 the use of hyperbaric chambers was being used in medicine. A French surgeon called Fontaine developed a portable operating theatre which was within a pressured chamber. He believed that the increase in oxygen in the patient’s blood would help with anesthesia. This allowed for a higher level of oxygen to ensure lower rates of death under anesthesia.

1900’s

By the start of the twentieth century, the Royal Navy has started to take interest in hyperbaric medicine to create a solution for its divers suffering from the bends.

In 1907 Dr. John Scott Haldane was working on experiments using goats and differing depths and helped develop the first dive table for use by divers. These tables are still used today by Wesley Hyperbaric to help safely treat patients.

 1920’s

During the early 1900s Dr. Orval Cunningham has been working with a patient suffering from cardiovascular disease and made a link between patients who lived at higher altitudes suffering more than patients living at sea level. He believed that putting patients under even greater air pressure differences would have great benefits. He created a chamber a 27-metre chamber and started to successfully treat many conditions.

But in 1921 he took a massive step and constructed the world’s largest chamber – a chamber fit for a king! It was built in Kansas City and was 20 metres in diameter and within it there were five floors, a smoking lounge, dining room, private quarters and the décor of a fine hotel.

With claims as big as the chamber itself he was soon under the spotlight of the authorities. With his unproven claims the authorities shut down the ‘hyperbaric hospital’ and it was demolished and sold off for scrap metal for use in the war effort.

1930’s

The US military began conducting research about survivable pressures.  Using hyperbaric oxygen to treat navy clearance divers with decompression sickness. The US Navy’s research has itself help develop its own dive tables. As the Royal Navy tables, these are used today for treating certain conditions in hyperbaric chambers.

1960’s

By the 1960s hyperbaric chambers were being used in mainstream medicine. At Boston Children’s Hospital a chamber acquired from Harvard University was being used by Dr William F Bernhard to treat children suffering from cardiac conditions – this included the prematurely arrived son of John F Kennedy. The hospital undertook surgery on 120 infants using the chamber prior to the invention of the bypass machine.

As the research continued and further advancements were made a governing body was formed to help keep this going ­– in 1967 The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) was founded. To this day they continue to add governance to hyperbaric medicine allowing the safe use of the medicine across the world.

UHMS helped develop a list of clinical indicators that have evidence that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used. As this is a wholly researched and proven list Medicare in Australia adopted this list to help patients get access to help from registered and accredited practitioners such as Wesley Hyperbaric.

1980’s

As the years have gone by, the medical research has not stopped and there is an ever increasing list of conditions that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to benefit. The 1980’s saw research proving that the therapy has a massive impact on problem wounds and radiation tissue damage. These are some of the conditions that we see the most at Wesley Hyperbaric and we see a lot of success in the treatments.

So that brings us up to date on the medicine. As you have read, from the early days we have seen a lot of problems solved from industry being able to build, advances through military research and of course in the medical industry an ability to treat conditions that would have been life-threatening allowing organisations such as the Wesley Hyperbaric to give people a chance of getting over conditions and regaining their life.

But it doesn’t stop there. The most basic and early understood science such as gas laws still today form the basis for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but as research continues and technology changes the future the medicine will continue to change and grow. Wesley Hyperbaric is playing a major part in this, conducting its own studies into conditions such as Xerostomia and pelvic irradiation damage, and prove how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help.

It’s business as usual at Wesley Hyperbaric

At Wesley Hyperbaric no two days are the same. We are constantly welcoming new patients to the unit for treatment in the hyperbaric chamber as well as saying goodbye to patients who have successfully treated their course. But from all the conditions that we treat, what are the most common we see?

We only treat 14 conditions that have research-based evidence that proves that the treatment is beneficial. These conditions are approved by The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) meaning that there is accreditation and proof behind our confidence that we have a solution for our patients.

Our top three conditions

Of the 14 conditions there are some we don’t see very often at all. We do, however, constantly treat certain conditions, and with every dive we undertake we see a constant flow of what we can call our top three treatments:

You can rest assured that we will not promise success for curing conditions that have not been proven to be treatable – you may have been told by other hyperbaric operators that they can offer you that miracle cure, this is unrealistic and you should avoid any businesses that offer you this.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the conditions we treat then we would love to hear from you. All you need to start the process is a referral from your doctor, we can then look at getting your treatment underway. If you have any questions please call one of our friendly team members on 07 3371 6033.

The answer to long-term diabetic wound problems.

Wesley Hyperbaric has been helping with the needs of people living with diabetes in South East Queensland since 1998. They look after patients with a wide variety of conditions – irradiation complications and diabetic wounds being our specialty.

The Advanced Wound Clinic at the Wesley Hyperbaric has recently expanded. This means more people living with diabetes can now receive expert wound care which can result in a greatly improved chance of healing to those problem wounds such as leg pressure ulcers.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has also been proven to help long term sufferers of diabetes by helping with improved circulation and supply of oxygen to damaged tissue.

Non-invasive and pain-free, using the chamber at Wesley Hyperbaric may offer a solution to the current situation of people living with diabetes.

Diabetic pressure wound case study

diabetic pressure ulcer

The patient was a 53-year-old physically active insulin dependent diabetic with mild peripheral neuropathy. On admission, he had little understanding of the diabetic disease process.

He had not visited a podiatrist or an orthotist in the 21 years since he had been diagnosed with diabetes. In spite of his peripheral neuropathy, vascular studies revealed near normal arterial supply.

Culture results from a wound swab showed a heavy growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

During the 24 hyperbaric treatments the patient had daily dressings, a course of oral antibiotics and consultations with both a podiatrist and an orthotist were arranged. The orthotist fitted the patient with adapted inner soles which accommodated the dressings. He was also given extensive diabetic education and his blood sugars were monitored on a daily basis.

At the completion of his treatment, the patient continued in our outpatient wound clinic for a further 2 months and healed completely. To prevent a recurrence of the wound he was fitted with appropriate work and casual shoes to off-load pressure. He is now back at work full-time.

Centrally located in Brisbane, we treat patients from as far afield as NSW and Far North Queensland, and through the generosity of the NSW and Queensland Government Travel Subsidy scheme, for the vast majority of patients, relocation for the duration of treatments is not as costly as expected.

If you are curious about what Wesley Hyperbaric can do for you give us a call on 07 3371 6033. If you have a patient who you think this might benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy or could make use of our advanced wound clinic please use our convenient online referral form.

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to hyperbaric oxygen therapy there really is only one choice.

Having a serious medical condition is something that requires your full attention. You should ensure whatever you do, it will deliver the results you are looking for. Medical procedures should be safe, proven to work and be supervised by qualified health care professionals.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one area of medicine that has many options given to you, and sometimes the providers are not always equal. There are many small operators offering mild hyperbaric treatment using portable, inflatable chambers – sometimes they might even offer you the convenience of coming to your home. These are really not true hyperbaric chambers and the benefits of using them are very questionable.

Mild hyperbaric chambers are not able to replicate the same depth as a medical grade chamber. The lack of pressure and the level and quality of the oxygen given will limit the ability to encourage healing and growth of bone and soft tissue. There is also a major concern around safety – most of the mild hyperbaric chambers are operated by non-hyperbaric qualified operators – and the important safety checks and procedures may not be in place due to the small size and inexperience of the operators. But most of all there really is no evidence that these chambers do anything for your condition and you could be wasting your money by choosing them.

For over 20 years Wesley Hyperbaric has been successfully treating patients for a range of conditions. We offer a full medical grade service and product that is accredited and approved by most major health funds – and for certain conditions, Medicare. The fact that conditions are covered by health care funds is an indication that there is sufficient scientific evidence that the treatment works. Our service offers a non-invasive and safe process. All completed under the supervision of our expert and fully qualified technicians, nurses and doctors. And we are located within the Wesley Hospital medical precinct.

The Wesley Hyperbaric offers a completely different, and superior service than those of the small mild hyperbaric chambers. The following table gives a side by side comparison to really highlight to you that when making your decision to choose hyperbaric therapy for your condition there really is only one choice you should make:

Wesley Hyperbaric Mild hyperbaric chamber
Usually Pressurised to 14 metres Only capable of depths of 2.5 metres
100 per cent oxygen Air (21 per cent oxygen 79 per cent nitrogen)
Encourages growth of bone and tissue Does not grow bone and tissue
Accredited through research No research or accreditation
Covered by major health funds and Medicare No cover for treatment
Medical grade treatment Treatment is not proven to work
Highly regulated industry No qualification or license needed
Safety technicians and monitoring of conditions to ensure safety at all times No provision of safety checks or monitoring of situations within the chamber
Arterial oxygen at 2.4 ATA 100% oxygen is 1,824 mmHg (normal air pressure is 157mmHg). This refers to how much oxygen is getting into the body, what is making the changes. Arterial oxygen at 1.3 ATA 24% oxygen is 230 mmHg (normal air pressure is 157mmHg).
Safe in the knowledge that the staff are fully qualified hyperbaric medical professionals Often a single operator, small business owner handling all the procedures and processes.

Why not take the time to read about the full range of conditions we treat at Wesley Hyperbaric. We have some case studies on our website too so you can hear about some successes we have had with our patients.

If you think you might need some more information, then please contact us and we can help you with your decision and get you on the right tracks to making a recovery.

 

 

HBOT and Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (ISSHL) is defined as hearing loss of at least 30dB occurring within 3 days over at least three contiguous frequencies.1

The most common clinical presentation involves sudden unilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, aural fullness and vertigo. The incidence is estimated at 8-15 per 10,0000 worldwide.2

There are currently over 100 publications available evaluating the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for treatment of ISSHL, including eight randomised control trials and a Cochrane meta-analysis.

On average, HBOT has been shown to impart a 19.3dB gain for moderate hearing loss and 37.7dB gain for severe cases. 3 This improvement brings hearing deficits from the moderate/severe range into the slight/no impairment range, a significant gain that can markedly improve a patient’s quality of life.

There is currently no consensus over the aetiology of ISSHL, with suggested mechanisms including vascular occlusion, ischemia, viral infection, labyrinthine membrane breaks, immune associated disease, abnormal cochlear stress response, trauma, abnormal tissue growth, toxins, ototoxic drugs and cochlear membrane damage. 4

The rationale for the mechanism of action for HBOT in ISSHL is likely due to the high metabolism and vascular paucity of the cochlea. Tissue oxygenation of the cochlear structures occurs via diffusion from cochlear capillary networks into the perilymph and cortilymph.

Perilymph oxygen tension has been shown to decrease significantly with ISSHL. 5 Animal studies have shown that compared to room air, normobaric oxygen increases perilymph PO2 3.4 fold, while HBO2 increases perilymph PO2 9.4 fold. 6 However, only HBO2 has been shown to achieve extremely high arterial perilymphatic oxygen concentration gradients in both animals and humans. Other additional postulated benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, blunting of ischemia reperfusion injury and oedema reduction.

When ISSHL is diagnosed, immediate referral to an ENT surgeon should occur. Oral steroids at 1mg/kg/day is a common initial dose tapering over the course of 2-3 weeks.

HBOT has been shown to be most effective if delivered within 2 weeks of hearing loss, with benefit possible up to 3 months post insult.7,8 Patients with a delay of greater than 14 days, advanced age and vertigo are however associated with poorer outcomes. 8

The Cochrane analysis of HBOT for ISSHL has shown a NNT of 5.3.3

A typical treatment regimen is of 10-15 treatments breathing 100% oxygen at 2.4ATA, during which routine pure tune audiometry is undertaken on a weekly basis to track changes in hearing acuity as a response to the treatment.

There is no medicare item number for treatment of ISSHL at this point in time, but the treatment is covered by Alliance health funds so there is no out of pocket expense for their clients.

Our unit will happily asses any referred patient with ISSHL. We can then discuss options and undertake treatment if required.

 

References

1 Haberkamp TJ, Tanyeri HM. Management of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing Loss. Am J Otol. 1999 Sep;20:587-592
2 Lionello M, Staffieri C, Breda S, Turato C, Giacomelli L, Magnavita P, de Filippis C, Staffieri A, Marioni G Uni- and multivariate models for investigating potential prognostic factors in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Mar 25.
3 Bennett MH, Kertesz T, Matthias P, Yeung P. Hyperbaric oxygen for idiopathic sensorineural hearing lossand tinnitus. Cochrane Database Sys Rev. 2010 Jan 20;(1): CD004739
4 Alimoglu Y, Inci E, Edizer DT, Ozdeilek A, Aslan M. Efficacy comparison of oral steroid, intratympanic steroid, hyperbaric oxygen and oral steroid and hyperbaric oxygen treatments in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss cases. Eur Arch otorhinology. 2011 Dec;268(12):1735-1741
5 Nagahara K, fisch U, Yagi n. Perilymph oxygenation in sudden and progressive sensorineural hearing loss. Acta Otolarygol. 1983 Jul-Aug; 96(1-2):57-68
6 Lamm C, Walliser U, Schumann K, Lamm K. Oxygen partial pressure measurements in the perilymph and the scala tympani in normo- and hyperbaric conditions. An animal experiment study. HNO. 1988 Sep;36(9):363-366
7 Marchesi G, Valetti TM, Amer M, Ross M, Tibertu R, Ferani R, Ferani R, Mauro G Di. The HBO effect in sudden hearing loss treatment. UHMS Annular Scientific Meeting Abstracts, 2000.
8 Murphy-Lavoie H, Piper S, Moon RE, LeGros T. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for idiopathic sudden Sensorineural hearing Loss. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2012;39(3):777-792

Is Hyperbaric Treatment right for you?

Dr Graeme Kay explains the medical evidence behind what we can treat.
Dr Graeme Kay
Dr Graeme Kay
Doctor Graeme Kay is the director of a hyperbaric medicine facility. He has extensive post graduate medical experience and specialist credentials in primary care as well as diving and hyperbaric medicine. This makes him one of the most qualified and respected doctors for Hyperbaric Medicine in the region.

On a daily basis I am asked by patients who feel let down by the traditional medical establishment to treat their conditions. I almost never treat these people. I say almost because there is a role for research into treating conditions with novel therapies, but only under the guise of a formally structured research program with ethical consideration and approval.

The current flavours of condition outside my realm of accepted practice include autism, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease.

I imagine that people with these conditions seek my facility because they have exhausted what they feel traditional medicine can give them.

Unfortunately there is no shortage of unscrupulous traders out there, purveying their modern miracle magical cure.

It is possible to some degree to trace back in the literature when the current deviation from accepted practice occurred.

In 2001 a randomised sham-controlled study of 111 children with Cerebral palsy (CP) who received either 40 HBOT treatments at 1.75 ATA, or 40 air sessions at 1.3 ATA (Sham) was published.1 Both groups were found to improve in their outcome measures but with no difference between the groups. This was ascribed to a participation effect by the authors, a finding that was supported by an independent scientific advisory committee.2

There was a group within the hyperbaric medicine community, which is not supported by the community at large, that interpreted this result as an active effect of pressure, even as low as 1.3ATA which is the equivalent of 3m Salt water of pressure or 30kPa. A second sham controlled study was published in 2012 with 49 children with CP enrolled and randomised to receive 40 HBOT treatments at 1.5 ATA or 40 exposures of 1.5ATA breathing a 14% fraction of oxygen (resulting in an equivalent inspired fraction of 21%, thus eliminating the possibility of in increased inspired PO2 being attributable to any effect). Again this study found significant improvement in carer reported disability inventory but with no difference between either group.3

Similar studies for the use of HBOT for mild traumatic brain injury have been conducted. In all these studies there were reported improvements beyond that expected, but no discernible difference between treatment groups. Again a small proportion of the hyperbaric medicine community have attributed this result to a physiological effect from exposure to increased pressure, whilst the majority of the community considers the results to be that of a participation effect. 4,5

As such, the majority of hyperbaric physicians across the globe are of the opinion that delivering ‘mild hyperbaric’ treatments of 1.3ATA breathing air, concentrated oxygen or pure oxygen, has no actual physiological effect. It could be argued that at best, it is a misguided poor interpretation of the data currently available, at worst a wilful and duplicitous disregard for scientific method, being used as rationale for requesting payment for a treatment that is proven to have no benefit.

As credible hyperbaric medicine practice currently exists in Australia, a hyperbaric medicine facility must be a comprehensive hospital based hyperbaric unit with ability to treat all presentations up to and including ICU level of care, and rostered staff including a doctor with extensive training in diving and hyperbaric medicine and nursing staff also suitably trained available 24/7 in order to collect Medicare rebate and in turn access private health funds.6

As such, asking the following questions prior to undergoing hyperbaric treatments may help to sort the woo from fact:

  • Is the condition being treated one of the 14 conditions the UHMS recognises as benefiting from hyperbaric treatments?7
  • If not, does a logical and mechanism exist that has been supported by research in human, animal or in vitro models?
  • What sort of treatment is being provided? If it is less than 2ATA of pressure, and if less than 100% oxygen is being supplied, then there is no evidence that treatment has any efficacy.
  • Is the treatment being provided by a trained doctor and nursing staff? If not, the facility does not comply to the Australian standard 4774.2 and is not eligible for Medicare subsidy.
  • Am I being asked to pay out of pocket for treatment? The majority of Medicare compliant facilities exists as part of public hospitals and require no out of pocket payments. The private facilities that are Medicare Benefits Schedule and AS 4774.2 compliant access Medicare and private health funds for payment for most but not all 14 UHMS recommendations. As such there is usually no out of pocket expense other than any hospital admission co-pay that the patient has negotiated with their fund on joining plus an assessment fee.

By reviewing the above queries, you should be able to satisfy yourself that the services being provided are being applied in an evidence based manner, by trained healthcare staff operating ethically as bound by AHPRA, in a facility that is compliant to the appropriate industry standards to ensure treatments are provided as safely as possible.

References

  1. Collett J-P, Vanasse M, Marois P, Amar M, Goldberg J, Lambert J, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen for children with cerebral pals: a randomised multicentre trial. Lancet 2001;357:582-6
  2. Scientific Advisory Committee. Report Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with cerebral palsy: a multicentre randomised clinical trial. Quebec, Canada: Fonds dela recherche en santa du Quebec; 2000
  3. Lacey DJ, Stolfi A, pilat LE. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Ann Neurol. 2012;72:695-703
  4. Harch PG, Andrews SR, Fogarty EF, Amen D, Pessullo JC, Lucarini J, et al. A phase 1 study of low pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy for blast induced post concussion syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. J Neurotrauma. 2012;29:168-85
  5. Weaver LK, Cifu D, Hart B, Wolf G, Miller RS. Hyperbaric oxygen for post concussion syndrome: design of department of Defense clinical trials. Undersea hyperb Med 2012;39:807-14.
  6. http://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/fullDisplay.cfm?type=note&q=T1.1&qt=noteID&criteria=T1.1
  7. https://www.uhms.org/resources/hbo-indications.html

Join our fight against dry mouth

Surviving from cancer is a massive achievement for many. Today’s technology in radiotherapy makes treatment more effective and potentially less damaging due to the ability to focus on the area that needs to receive radiation. There is, of course, some instances where collateral damage occurs to tissue which can lead to complications occurring some time after treatment has completed.

For head and neck cancer sufferers who have undergone treatment using radiation there is a possibility of saliva gland damage, which causes a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth. This can negatively affect the patient’s quality of life, especially after surviving cancer. Xerostomia leaves people with a dry mouth and the inability to produce enough saliva which can cause difficulty with talking, eating and loss of taste resulting in poor nutrition, increased risk of dental decay and the inability to sleep well at night. And unfortunately, xerostomia can develop into an irreversible and life-long problem.

Wesley Hyperbaric wants to help alleviate these symptoms and is conducting a trial to help establish hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a viable treatment in patients suffering from xerostomia. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been successfully proven to help with soft tissue damage caused by radiation to other areas of the body, bringing hope that it can also be effective for salivary gland damage. Our trial will continue into 2019 to gain more information and produce evidence supporting the effectiveness of the treatment for the condition in the future.

Signs of xerostomia
  • Problems with eating, swallowing and talking continuously
  • Difficulty eating certain dry foods such as cereal
  • Denture issues such as fitting, sores or palate issues
  • Loss of taste
  • An increase in the need to drink water – especially at night
  • Dental and mouth issues such as inflammation, increased caries and ulcers.

Dr Ohnmar Aung, at Wesley Hyperbaric, is the principal investigator for this trial and is looking forward to helping more people suffering from Xerostomia. If you are interested in taking part in this trial, you will be able to help us gather scientific evidence and receive the treatment for free. All that is needed is that you have had radiation to the head and neck area and are now suffering from xerostomia and the ability to commit to taking part in a six-week program. You could be on the road to recovery as well as helping other people, in the future, who are suffering from the same conditions.

Please get in touch with us for more information on our services and to find out what the next steps are to take part in the trial.

Read our white paper on treating inflammatory bowel disease with HBOT

With an estimated 75,000 Australian’s living with inflammatory bowel disease and the numbers increasing each year there is good news around findings that hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers a solution.

As Australia’s pioneers in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we have published a white paper on the topic. It covers the problems faced and offers up a solution complete with case studies to show the success in treating Crohn’s disease and also ulcerative colitis.

To find out more please access our white paper and learn more about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can treat inflammatory bowel disease.