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Essential Information About Commercial Hyperbaric Chambers.

Updated on October 10, 2011


This article aims to answer the essential questions always asked about commercial hyperbaric chambers, such as; what are they? Are they safe? How much does the treatment cost?


Commercial hyperbaric chambers are medical installations where people suffering from altitude sickness, air embolisms or slow healing wounds, can buy time inside a pressurized totally controlled environment. First developed in the navy to cure deep sea divers of the 'bends', they are small -eight people maximum-sealed units where oxygen is pumped in so that the internal atmospheric pressure is increased up to six times the level of the outside World. The increased pressure is combined with pure oxygen inside the commercial hyperbaric chamber so as to increase the patients blood flow and blood gas oxygen levels. The added pressure and oxygen are known to be therapeutic to a number of medical conditions.


The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society describes hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a clinical procedure in which patients are hermetically sealed within a chamber and surrounded by 100% oxygen as the hyperbaric chambers' internal gas pressure is increased to level well above one atmosphere otherwise known as normobaric level.


There are typically two varieties of commercial hyperbaric chamber, multiple occupancy and single place. They differ in their size, the number of patients they can accommodate at any one time, and how the oxygen is delivered. Single place chambers are as the name suggests for 1 person at a time and pressurized with pure oxygen from which the patient just inhales as normal.Multiple occupany chambers are built to hold two or more patients. They are pressurized with compressed air while patients take in pure oxygen through face masks, hoods or endotrachial tubes.


You would not buy a commercial hyperbaric chamber, because they look great in your living room. You would consider buying one because you want some hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the health giving effects. But be aware of the cost. It will always be high and variable depending upon the location, the equipment type, and the medical/technical supervision. As well as the state of local competition. You will typically pay forty dollars for half an hour of low key commercial hyperbaric chamber time and anything up to twelve hundred dollars for an hour and a half of really high pressure pure oxygen therapy. A comprehensive course of sessions for a serious condition can be forty appointments plus.


Reimbursement from medicare and medicaid for commercial hyperbaric chamber therapy is just like reimbursement for any other treatment. There are thirteen Federal Drug Administration (FDA) listed indications and the amounts of reimbursement, the rules governing it and the regulations vary from state to state. It is always wise to talk with the administrator at your chosen treatment center to clarify the commercial arrangements before referral.


Is commercial hyperbaric chamber therapy safe? As with all medical procedures there is the remote possibility of side effects but these are minor and in no way life threatening. It is important to do the therapy under expert guidance and supervision. Staying in an artificial atmosphere of higher pressure than normal is what we do when we fly on a commercial airliner. The main side effects are similar to those of flying and centered mainly around the ears.


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