HBOT Risks and Side Effects

Common Side Effects and Management

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally safe, but like any medical treatment, it does have potential side effects. The most common include ear pain or pressure due to changes in atmospheric pressure, similar to what one might experience during an airplane flight. Sinus discomfort and temporary vision changes are also possible. These side effects are typically mild and can often be managed with simple techniques like ear clearing or short breaks during treatment. In rare cases, more significant issues such as oxygen toxicity or barotrauma may occur, necessitating specialized medical intervention.

Potential Risks and Complications

While serious complications from HBOT are rare, they can occur. Oxygen toxicity, which can affect the lungs and central nervous system, is a risk associated with breathing high concentrations of oxygen. There’s also a small risk of fire, given the high levels of oxygen used. Facilities adhere to strict safety protocols to minimize these risks, including regular equipment checks and emergency preparedness training for staff. Patients with certain pre-existing conditions, like untreated pneumothorax, may be at higher risk and are typically screened out prior to HBOT.

Informed Consent and Patient Education

Before beginning HBOT, patients undergo a process of informed consent, during which the potential risks and benefits are thoroughly discussed. This process is crucial for ensuring patients understand the treatment they are receiving and its possible side effects. Ongoing patient education is also a key part of managing HBOT, with patients being advised on how to prepare for sessions and how to respond to any side effects they might experience.

The Complete Guide To Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy