SMP are a leading manufacturer of hyperbaric chambers which are used to administer hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT. A traditional type of hyperbaric chamber is a hard shelled pressure vessel. As they are made of solid construction, they can withstand pressures in excess of 6 bars (87 psi). Hyperbaric chambers are mainly operated by diving organisations, Naval institutions, hospitals and medical treatment facilities. In addition commercial companies operate hyperbaric chambers offering paid treatments.
Hard shelled hyperbaric chambers normally consist of the following:
In many of the larger capacity hyperbaric chambers, the patients and treatment staff inside the hyperbaric chamber will normally breathe 100% pure oxygen through either a face oxygen mask or an oxygen hood. Some oxygen masks are designed to take the exhaust gas that the patients breathe out outside the chamber. The oxygen masks are normally attached to an exhaust gas manifold inside the chamber that allows the exhaust gas to be extracted outside of the hyperbaric chamber.
Throughout the hyperbaric treatment, patients inside the hyperbaric chamber breathe 100% pure oxygen in order to maximise the effectiveness of the hyperbaric treatment. They do have regular "air breaks" so as to minimise the risk of oxygen toxicity. Breathing pure oxygen for prolonged periods at elevated partial pressure can be poisonous to the human body and result in cell damage and death, with effects most often seen in the central nervous system, lungs and eyes.
The exhaled gas must be removed from the chamber to prevent the build up of oxygen which can prevent a serious fire risk. Treatment staff inside the chamber will also breathe pure oxygen to reduce their risk of decompression sickness. The hyperbaric chamber pressure is increased by opening valves allowing high pressure air to enter from storage cylinders, which are filled by an air compressor.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was originally developed for the treatment of diving accidents, involving bubbles of gas in the cell tissues, such as decompression sickness and gas embolism. Hyperbaric chambers are effective at treating conditions such as decompression sickness by increasing pressure, which in turn reduces the size of the gas bubbles and improved blood transportation to the body tissues. High concentrations of oxygen in the tissues help keep oxygen starved tissues alive whilst at the same time removing the nitrogen from the gas bubbles, making them smaller until it is made up entirely of oxygen. This oxygen is then in turn re-absorbed into the body. Once all of these gas bubbles have been eliminated, the pressure inside the hyperbaric chamber is reduced back to nomal atmospheric pressure levels.
Emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy for divers with decomression sickness, follows treatment schedules laid out in treatment tables. The majority of cases employ a recompression to 2.8 bars which equates to a depth pressure of 18 metres. Treatment lasts around 5 hours with the patient breathing pure oxygen. For serious cases resulting from high depth dives, hyperbaric chambers capable of pressures upto 8 bar or higher. The standard hyperbaric diving chambers that we manufacture are rated for pressures up to 10 bar which equates to a depth of 100 metres.
Therapeutic Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
There are a number of therapeutic benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These are:
UK Hyperbaric Chambers | Diver Decompression Chambers