Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, is a type of treatment used to treat wounds that won’t heal, gangrene and serious wound infections when tissues are "starved" for oxygen. When used as a part of a multidisciplinary approach to limb preservation, it can be effective at healing wounds and reducing risk of amputation, particularly for those with diabetes.
Research has shown that HBOT is helpful for:
- Radiation injuries or tissue damage from cancer treatments
- Soft tissue infections
- Certain skin grafts and flaps
- Diabetes-related wounds and foot ulcers
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is given in a special type of room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. In this setting, patients breathe 100 percent oxygen while pressurized to maximize oxygen uptake. It can also be given through a mask, which also delivers 100 percent oxygen to the lungs. The rest of the body is at normal oxygen levels, but still under higher pressure than normal. The goal is to fill the blood with enough oxygen to repair tissues and restore normal body function.
"I received a total of eigtht weeks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Legacy Hyperbaric Medicine Center for a persistent wound that was the result of previous radiation treatment. The treatments were very successful and the overall experience was very positive too. The staff was fantastic at explaining everything and making me feel comfortable while providing excellent care. I knew that I was in good hands all along the way!", A.B., hyperbaric patient
The Legacy Hyperbaric Medicine Center, on the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center campus, is the largest hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber in Oregon. It can accommodate 12 patients at a time.
In Legacy’s hyperbaric chamber, patients have more freedom of movement than other facilities.
During treatment, you can:
- Sit, stand up or lie down.
- Breathe oxygen through an individual hood.
- Watch TV, read or even sleep.
- Gain social support by meeting other patients. Some even carpool together to treatment.
Our larger capacity means we have greater flexibility and can find an appointment that’s right for you.
Enoch Huang, M.D., is the program medical director for the Legacy Hyperbaric Medicine Center. He is Oregon’s only fellowship-trained, board-certified hyperbaric physician.
Dr. Huang explains, "This (approach) helps speed cell repair and form new blood vessels, which in turn assists in the healing of wounds. Repeated exposure to pressurized oxygen gives a lifeline to ischemic tissue, boosts the effects of some antibiotics, activates white blood cells to fight certain infections, reduces tissue swelling, and promotes the healing process of specific chronic wounds."
The Legacy Hyperbaric Medicine Center is located in the Legacy Chronic Wound and Outpatient Burn Clinic.
Read more about Legacy's HBOT chamber here.