Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy?



Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100% pure oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber. The air pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This “hyperbaric” (or high pressure) dose of oxygen helps your blood carry more oxygen to your organs and tissues to promote wound healing. It also activates the white blood cells to fight infection.

Patients typically receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy five days a week for approximately four to six weeks depending on the condition being treated. Most treatments take about two hours and the therapy is very comfortable for most patients. We also offer 1 hour and 1.5 hour treatments for patients with conditions that do not require the full two hour treatments.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used as part of the treatment for certain conditions, including the following:

  • Non-healing wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers otherwise known as Diabetic Wounds of the Lower Extremity (DWLE)
  • Chronic bone infections (chronic refractory osteomyelitis)
  • Post-Radiation Complications (Osteoradionecrosis & Soft Tissue Radionecrosis)
  • Injury to skin or bone as a side effect from radiation therapy
  • Non-healing skin grafts and flaps
  • Crush injuries
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Central retinal artery occlusion
  • Post-surgical healing

Preparing for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


An Olympia Hospital medical staff member (Hyperbaric Physician) will tell you how many treatments you will require based on your condition. During your treatment, you may watch television, a movie or take a nap.

FOR YOUR SAFETY: You will be given a 100% cotton gown to wear in the chamber. No cosmetics, perfumes, hair preparations, deodorants, wigs, jewelry or electronic devices are allowed in the chamber. Most pacemakers are allowed in the chamber. The hyperbaric technologist will need to know if you are taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs. You are advised not to drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for four hours prior to treatment.

Smoking and the use of tobacco products interferes with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Therefore, your doctor will work with you on techniques to help stop smoking during the treatment period.

Following your treatment plan is the single most important factor in your healing.


Have questions about Olympia Hospital’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy procedure? Contact us at 323.932.5922 to find out more about what to expect.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safety Orientation Brochure (PDF)

Hyperbaric Treatment Safety Instructions for patients prior to starting therapy.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Image Gallery