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Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center
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Hyperbaric Medicine

Sometimes the healing process needs a boost. With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), patients with tough wounds and other conditions can heal better and faster at EIRMC.

HBOT dramatically increases the amount of oxygen entering a patient’s bloodstream, aiding the healing process. The therapy can be vitally important for the leg or foot wounds of diabetics, as well as for gas gangrene, radiation tissue damage, compromised skin grafts and flaps, crush injuries, anaerobic infections, cyanide poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and several other urgent medical conditions.

photo of patient in hyperbaric chamber

Highlights:

  • EIRMC has the only multi-place hyperbaric chamber inside an Idaho hospital.
  • Our state-of-the-art facility has both a 10 - 12 seat and a single chamber option.
  • The Hyperbaric center is fully staffed with nurses who are trained in hyperbaric medicine at the International ATMO Education Facility and credentialed by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology.

Treatment Summary

During this painless treatment, you will rest on a comfortable bed or chair in a roomy pressurized chamber breathing pure oxygen. You can relax, sleep, watch television, or listen to music during the sessions, which generally last two hours. Patients of all ages tolerate the treatments very well.

An HBOT-certified physician and nurses are there at all times to monitor each treatment session.

Am I a candidate for HBOT?

After you are referred by your physician, an HBOT-certified physician will examine you to confirm whether treatment is appropriate. If you are a candidate, a plan of care will be designed just for you.

How often will I come for therapy?

The frequency and number of visits will vary, depending on your condition, but most treatments are once a day, Monday through Friday. Patients with wound-healing problems usually require about 30 - 60 treatments. If you have an acute condition such as decompression illness or carbon monoxide poisoning, only one or two treatments may be required.

How will it feel?

The first few minutes will be quite noisy and you will feel warm. Then the temperature will adjust to a more comfortable setting. You will feel the change in pressure in your ears (similar to when an airplane changes altitude). To protect your ears from pressure changes, you will be taught techniques to clear them, thus avoiding the feeling of fullness in your ears.

How do I prepare?

Because of the increased concentration of oxygen in the chamber, you will be given 100% cotton clothing to wear at each treatment. For fire safety precautions, you may NOT wear or use the following during treatment:

  • Newspapers/ loose leaf paper/ paper back books
  • Lipsticks/ facial make-up
  • Watches/jewelry
  • Wigs/hairpieces
  • Medication patches
  • Hearing aids
  • Hard contact lenses
  • Cell phones
  • Glasses with metal frames
  • Gum/candy
  • Ointments
  • Hairsprays
  • Synthetics/silk
  • Hair oil/gels or mousse
  • Liniments
  • Nylons
  • Aftershaves
  • Prosthetic devises
  • Smoking materials
  • Hand/feet warming devices

When we schedule you for treatment, we will furnish additional detailed instructions. Lockers are available for your personal belongings. Don’t hesitate to ask our staff if you have any questions.

What if I’m a smoker?

It is strongly recommended that you stop all nicotine use before starting HBOT. This is because nicotine narrows your blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the tissues, and interferes with the growth of new blood vessels. These are problems we are trying to counteract with HBOT.

Can I have caffeine?

You should not drink caffeinated fluids (coffee, tea, soft drinks) during the course of hyperbaric

treatment, because caffeine, like nicotine, tends to narrow your blood vessels. If you cannot completely stop, you should have no caffeine for two hours both before and after your treatment.