Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses a special high-pressure chamber to raise the amount of oxygen entering your body with each breath. This extra oxygen has several effects, including helping wounds to heal and your white blood cells to fight infection.
We are staffed by 2 hyperbaric physicians, 2 full-time hyperbaric nurses, and several part-time hyperbaric staff members. All staff are trained in the administration of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In addition there are plastic surgery, radiation therapy, and oncology physicians who work with us to provide therapy for their patients.
The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) is accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS).
The most common conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy at DHMC are:
Note: The following links go to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society website.
- Tissue damage from radiation therapy for cancer (delayed radiation therapy/soft tissues and bony necrosis)
- Wounds where lack of sufficient oxygen is a cause of slow healing (for example, certain diabetic foot wounds)
- Chronic bone infections (refractory osteomyelitis)
- Skin grafts or flaps with a poor blood supply (compromised grafts and flaps)
- Sudden hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss)
Additional UHMS-approved indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Acute thermal burn injury
- Air or gas embolism
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Carbon monoxide poisoning complicated by cyanide poisoning
- Central retinal artery occlusion
- Crush injury, compartment syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemias
- Decompression sickness
- Gas gangrene (clostridial myositis and myonecrosis)
- Intracranial abscess
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Severe anemia where transfusion is not possible
- Sudden loss of blood supply to an area (for example, compromised grafts and flaps)
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy does not hurt; however, you might feel pressure or fullness in your ears similar to what you would feel in a descending airplane or in a car coming down a mountain. Read more about this therapy in Treatments and Services.
Watch a brief history of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at DHMC.