You've seen it in underwater adventure movies: A diver is rushed
to a decompression chamber, writhing in pain from the "bends"
after he comes up too quickly from the ocean depths. The pressure
inside the chamber neutralizes excess nitrogen in his bloodstream
and allows him to continue his normal life.
However, bringing relief and healing in a high-pressure chamber
isn't just a movie device. At Glendale Adventist Medical Center's
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center, patients with a wide range of
medical needs - wounds that won't heal, crush injuries, cyanide
poisoning, a vessel blocked by air or gas, problem skin grafts
and flaps and many other conditions - can be treated by the
effects of oxygen administered under high pressure.
How It Works
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by "force-feeding" pure oxygen to
the bloodstream, tissues and cells. By elevating the atmospheric
pressure and increasing oxygen intake, oxygen is transferred
through the membrane of the red blood cells at a much greater,
more effective rate to saturate the bloodstream, tissue and
This combination furthers your body's ability to kill germs and
to rebuild damaged tissues. The effects help in various ways,
depending on the specific condition under treatment. Hyperbaric
Oxygen Therapy is a supplemental therapy, used in addition to
Learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the video below:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides benefits in treating a variety
of conditions. For example, flooding the body with oxygen forces
other gases to be quickly eliminated. This is beneficial in the
treatment of victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. For patients
with crush injuries, the high-pressure oxygen environment
restricts blood flow and can help guard against dangerous
Treatment in a hyperbaric chamber can also be extremely effective
for patients who have certain types of wounds that resist
healing. Glendale Adventist's Wound Care Center
assists patients with such difficulties, and works closely with
the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center to provide therapy for
patients whose medical conditions make them candidates for the
As an adjunct to treatment of wounds, hyperbaric oxygen therapy
has been found to increase the healing potential of your body's
natural mechanisms. Benefits have also been documented in
conditions from traumatic injuries to burns, and includes one or
more of the following:
- Enhanced wound healing
- Increase in white blood cells' defense to infection
- Reduction or elimination of the effects of toxic substances
- Reduction or elimination of gas/air-bubbles
- Repair of damaged tissues
The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have been well
documented and further information is available.
Preparation for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Once we have established that you can benefit from hyperbaric
oxygen therapy, an order from your attending physician will get
you started on the path to faster healing. We will discuss with
you specific preparations required before your treatment,
Tobacco products constrict blood vessels and limit blood and
oxygen delivery to tissues.
Some medications should not be taken during hyperbaric oxygen
therapy. These include vitamin C, Morphine, Talwin and alcohol
(within 8 hours of your treatment).
Cold or flu symptoms may delay your treatment.
Clothing and personal items
You will be required to wear 100 percent cotton hospital clothing
during your treatment. You will also be required to remove all
jewelry, hearing aids, petroleum based lotions, cosmetics and
You will lie or sit comfortably in the chamber during your
treatment, which usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes. The hyperbaric
staff will be in close contact with you throughout the therapy.
The chambers are equipped with an intercom system so you can
communicate with your therapist or doctor during therapy. You may
watch TV or videos during therapy or if you wish, you may sleep.
Generally, you will feel no side effects from hyperbaric oxygen
therapy. During certain parts of the treatment, you may
experience a sensation of fullness in your ears, similar to when
you are flying in an airplane, as your eardrums respond to
pressure changes. Prior to treatment, you will be taught several
easy methods of clearing your ears. Some patients may experience
anxiety due to the enclosed chamber space. If this becomes a
problem during your treatment our staff will respond to your
concerns with their presence and experience and if necessary
anti-anxiety medications are available.
The treatment center at Glendale Adventist has two hyperbaric
chambers, each with room for two people at once. One person can
lie inside the main body of the chamber for treatment; another
can sit inside the end of the chamber, either for treatment or to
attend to the patient being treated. The two chambers can be
separately pressurized or depressurized.
Treatment lasts approximately 60 to 90 minutes. During treatment,
the patient is awake, and can read, listen to the radio or watch
TV through one of several portholes in the side of the chamber. A
therapist attends the patient throughout the procedure.
For More Information
To find out if you can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy,
ask your physician or call us at (818) 545-3405.
You can also contact the Wound Care Center at