Hyperbaric Medicine

Atoka County Medical Center Department of Hyperbaric Medicine is one southeast Oklahoma area's major resources for outpatient hyperbaric oxygen therapy . The department has been serving the area 5 years and continues its mission to provide exceptional patient care. Treatments are provided and supervised by experienced and highly trained staff. The department is run by a medical director.

Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy involves exposing the patient to 100% oxygen in a high pressure environment. This pressure gradient causes the body to absorb more oxygen than it can under normal conditions.

During your treatments, you will lie in a pressurized acrylic chamber. While in this chamber you will breathe pure oxygen. The chamber is transparent and an RN will observe you at all times.

The chamber is pressurized slowly when starting treatment. During this time, you may occasionally feel mild pressure on your eardrums. A nurse will teach you how to relieve this pressure by swallowing or yawning. You can breathe normally during your treatment. Once you have reached treatment pressure, your body will feel no different than it does outside the chamber.

Most treatment protocols are about two hours in length. During this time you can sleep or watch TV. You may bring a video or dvd in to watch as well. Reading materials are not permitted in the chamber for safety reasons.

Your vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure will be checked before and after treatment. Your ears will be checked at the end of every treatment by a qualified physician.

Hyperbaric Medicine is used for conditions including:

Air or gas embolism
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Clostridial myositis and myonecrosis (gas gangene)
Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute ischemia
Decompression sickness
Enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds (diabetic wounds that meet certain criteria)
Exceptional anemia
Intracranial abscess
Necrotizing soft tissue infections.
Refractory osteomyelitis
Delayed radiation injury (soft tissue and bone necrosis)
Grafts and skin flaps
Thermal burns
Hepatic artery thrombosis in pediatric liver transplant patients

Side effects of HBO therapy are mild and temporary. Your sinuses or ears may become congested. If they do, tell your nurse. Your doctor may prescribe medication for you. A few patients develop temporary near-sightedness. This side effect usually clears up within eight weeks of treatment. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, do not have your prescription changed for at least two months after you have completed treatment. The pure oxygen in the chamber is very dry. Some patients experience minor airway irritation or a dry hacking cough while in the chamber. The staff can provide you with a water bottle to help relieve these symptoms during treatment. Other treatment side effects will be reviewed with you prior to beginning therapy.

Smoking is not recommended during the time you are treated. The nicotine in cigarettes causes small blood vessels in the body to constrict. This decreases blood flow to any damaged tissues and impairs healing. Many insurance companies will deny coverage for hyperbaric therapy to patients who are currently smoking.

Safety considerations

Physician referral is mandatory for all outpatient therapy. 24 hour on-call coverage is provided for emergencies. To make a referral contact us today at 580-889-3333.


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