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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-8

Hyperbaric medicine: A perspective

1 Director, Institute of Naval Medicine, INHS Asvini, Mumbai- 05, India
2 Classified Specialist (Marine Medicine), Dept of Marine Medicine, INHS Asvini, Mumbai- 05, India
3 Graded Specialist (Community Medicine), Institute of Naval Medicine, INHS Asvini, Mumbai- 05, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-3605.203233

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Hyperbaric medicine, also known as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), is the medical use of oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure. The equipment required consists of a pressure chamber and a means of delivering 100% oxygen. Several therapeutic principles are made use of in HBOT, the main one being the increased overall pressure when used in the treatment of decompression sickness and air embolism, as it provides a physical means of reducing the volume of inert gas bubbles within the body. There are various approved and under-trial indications for HBOT. The main facility required for hyperbaric medicine is the Hyperbaric chamber, which is essentially designed to withstand pressurization so as to enable oxygen delivery at pressures greater than atmospheric pressure. The complications associated with HBOT are related to pressure changes causing barotrauma and those related to oxygen toxicity. The only absolute contraindication to hyperbaric oxygen therapy is untreated tension pneumothorax.

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