What is the role of multiplace chambers in hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)?

Updated: Nov 16, 2020
  • Author: Emi Latham, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, UHM; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Answer

Multiplace chambers treat multiple patients at the same time, generally with a nurse or another inside observer who monitors the patients and assists with equipment manipulation or emergencies (see images below). Patients in a multiplace chamber breathe 100% oxygen via a mask or close-fitting plastic hood. Multiplace chambers can usually be pressurized to the equivalent of about six atmospheres of pressure.

If a different mixture of gas (nitrogen or helium mixture) is desired, the mixture can be given, via the mask, to only the patient, not the employee. All equipment used with patients, such as ventilators and intravenous lines, is put into the chamber with the patient. Since the employee is breathing air during the treatment (not using a mask), his or her nitrogen intake must be monitored, as this presents a risk for problems similar to those sometimes developed by scuba divers (eg, decompression sickness [DCS]).

Rectangular hyperbaric chamber. Rectangular hyperbaric chamber.
Interior of rectangular chamber. Interior of rectangular chamber.
Cylindrical multiplace chamber. Cylindrical multiplace chamber.

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