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August 18, 2010

Fauquier Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

On June 9, 2009, Fauquier Hospital opened a wound center that included two hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Hyperbaric oxygen, also known as HBO, has a long and close-knit history with ENT.

What hyperbaric oxygen treatment does, in a nutshell, is provide higher concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream which allows for faster healing of chronic wounds as well as treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning and "the bends" when SCUBA diving.

The higher concentrations of oxygen is achieved by increasing the surrounding pressure of the patient with higher oxygen concentrations... it is simply not good enough to provide oxygen... it needs to be administered at elevated pressures too.

In order to achieve elevated pressures, the patient needs to be completely enclosed inside an airtight chamber while they "pump" oxygen in. Here's a couple views of the HBO chamber used in the Fauquier Wound Center. And yes... that's a TV on top... a single treatment lasts a few hours!


As the pressure increases, the patient needs to "pop" their ears constantly, much like if you were flying up in an airplane or diving into deep water.

If a patient is unable to pop their ears easily, ENT can surgically place ear tubes so that the patient doesn't have to pop their ears... the tubes pop the ears for the patient automatically!

It is not unusual that I get "urgent" same-day consults for barotrauma sustained during a HBO dive. Ear tubes get placed and the patient is able to immediately resume HBO treatments without delay!

Check out the Fauquier Wound Center here.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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