By: Tarun Sahni, S. Hukku, Madhur Jain, Arun Prasad, Rajendra Prasad, Kuldeep Singh
Hyperbaric Medicine is the fascinating use of barometric pressure for delivering increased oxygen dissolved in plasma to body tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) is a form of treatment in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure that is greater than 1 atmosphere absolute (ATA). Therapy is given in special therapeutic chambers, which were earlier used primarily to treat illnesses of deep sea divers. In the sixties HBO went out of practice because of its use without adequate scientific validation. Over the last two decades, animal studies, clinical trials and well-validated clinical experience has proved efficacy of HBO in many indications and there is recently a renewed interest in this field all over the world. Acute traumatic wounds, Crush injuries, Burns, Gas gangrene and compartment syndrome are indications where addition of Hyperbaric oxygen may be life and limb saving. Patients who have been suffering with non healing ulcers, Decubitus Ulcers (Bed sores) and all late sequelae of Radiation therapy are also benefited with HBO therapy. Acute hearing loss and many neurological illnesses are also now known to possibly benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. With continuing growth all over the world Hyperbaric Medicine has found a distinct role in the modern era of evidence-based medicine. This article aims to give a brief overview of the rationale, existing trends and applications of this therapy.