Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has demonstrated excellent safety records and generally is considered to be an extremely safe procedure. Serious adverse reactions are very rare, and generally not seen at lower dosages.
The most common concern occurs in about 10% of the population, who complain of ear discomfort (similar to that felt when congested and during the landing process on an airplane).
Trained hyperbaric staff should easily be able to help limit and even avoid any of these complications. Below is a summary of potential concern related to HBOT dosages:
- 60 min at 1.3 ATA — Considered Extremely safe – no serious concerns reported
- 60 min at 2.0 ATA — Minimal Concerns – considered very low risk
- 60 min at 2.5 ATA — Higher risk- Serious reactions may occur but still very rare
As safe as HBOT is, here are some ways that you can reduce further your risk:
- Keep to lower pressures if possible
- Give yourself a minimum of 4 hours between sessions
- Try to limit your session to 60 minutes, and if longer, use regular air breaks
- Look for a hyperbaric chamber that is pressurized with air and constantly venting. This will help lower the oxygen concentration within the chamber environment and thus reduce any fire risk. If you are inside an oxygen-rich chamber, make sure that the clinic follows strict guidelines for fire safety procedures.
- Make sure that you have something to eat before HBOT and are not running into any problems with blood sugar, particularly low blood sugar. If diabetic, speak to your hyperbaric attendant
- Make sure that your HBOT center has proper safety training, particularly in pressurization techniques and skills to help reduce adverse reactions.