Treating decompression sickness Brisbane

How hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help with decompression sickness
Treating decompression sickness Brisbane

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is best known for treating decompression sickness. It reduces the amount of nitrogen in your body and fills the tissue with oxygen. 

Hyperbaric chamber for decompression sickness Brisbane

What is decompression sickness?

If you are a scuba diver, you know all too well about decompression sickness. It’s a rare condition that can occur when working at high or low altitudes. Typically, deep sea divers, miners, aviators, mountain climbers and astronauts have to be careful when working in these high or low-altitude circumstances. 

Decompression sickness happens when bubbles of nitrogen enter the bloodstream and tissues. Gas bubbles aren’t normally present inside blood vessels and cause irritation that can cascade into decompression sickness.

The bubbles can cause dangerous symptoms throughout the body. The most common symptoms are:

  • joint pain,
  • hypaesthesia (numbness),
  • extreme fatigue,
  • rash.

Less common but more serious symptoms of decompression sickness are:

  • motor weakness,
  • ataxia (impaired balance or coordination),
  • pulmonary oedema (too much fluid in the lungs),
  • shock,
  • death.
Dr Susannah Sherlock

Deep sea divers using compressed air are at particular risk for decompression sickness if they come to the surface too quickly. 

Dr Susannah Sherlock
Medical Director at Wesley Hyperbaric

If you are older, heavier, or less physically active, you may have a higher risk of decompression sickness. 

Treating decompression sickness with HBOT

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for decompression sickness

Treating decompression sickness Brisbane
Treating decompression sickness Brisbane

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the primary treatment option for decompression sickness. 

In daily life, the air we breathe contains 21% of oxygen. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), you breathe in 100% oxygen at air pressure levels that are 2 to 2.8 times higher than in normal life. It immediately reduces the number of nitrogen bubbles in your bloodstream, fills your tissues with oxygen, and reduces dangerous swelling.

The symptoms of decompression sickness can be life-threatening. In most instances, it is pivotal to get treatment as soon as possible.
Dr Susannah Sherlock
Medical Director at Wesley Hyperbaric

The beneficial effects of hyperbaric oxygen are:

  • Immediately starts to reduce the size of nitrogen bubbles in your bloodstream to allow it to “escape”
  • Fills tissues with oxygen to counter and help wash the nitrogen out of your system
  • Reduces dangerous swelling that can occur with decompression sickness

Check our overview page and find out how HBOT can improve your quality of life and overall health.

Your journey starts with these 3 steps

Step 1
Once you have your referral from your GP or specialist, contact our Brisbane clinic to book a consultation with one of our doctors.
Step 2
If you are eligible for HBOT, your treatment plan is scheduled and your HBOT journey can start.
Step 3

When you have completed your hyperbaric sessions, your condition is reassessed by one of our doctors.