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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Diabetes

Treatment and Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

HBO therapy is the provision of oxygen at raised pressure. Oxygen (O2) behaves like a drug with response depending on the dose:
Air at 1 atmosphere gives a dose of 0.2 bar O2
100 per cent oxygen at 1 atmosphere gives a dose of 1 bar O2
100 per cent oxygen at 2.8 bar gives a dose of 2.8 bar O2 (that is 14 times the dose of O2 compared with air at 1 atmosphere)

Patients breathe the oxygen via a mask, hood or ventilator at pressures above 1 atmosphere (bar) and are treated in a recompression chamber, where they are accompanied by a doctor, nurse or attendant. The pressure in the chamber is raised with compressed air. The attendants will therefore breathe this air for most of the treatment duration, and at designated times they will have to breathe oxygen which lowers the risk of decompression illness.

Patients will receive between two and 40 treatments depending on the medical condition being treated. Typically patients with decompression illness or carbon monoxide poisoning may only require between one and three treatment sessions, while patients with difficult wounds may require up to 40. The pressure in the chamber is raised to between 2.4 and 2.8 bar, and each treatment will last from two to eight hours, again depending on the medical condition.


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By Sara Hasan, Hyperbaric Nurse Consultant, Peter Dodds, Manager, Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, and Phil Catling, Business Group Manager, Electro-Optic Systems at QinetiQ

Sara Hasan trained at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. She has over 20 years' nursing experience, mostly in critical care, and joined the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at Haslar in 1997 where she is a Hyperbaric Nurse Consultant.

Peter Dodds is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit. His technical experience in this area goes back to 1980 when he first became involved in experimental diving programmes.

Phil Catling has over 30 years' experience in human factors and avionics systems R&D. He manages QinetiQ's diabetic retinopathy programme and is also active in progressing other health-related activities.

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Sara Hasan
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Peter Dodds
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Phil Catling
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