Hyperbaric Chamber (Decompression Chamber)

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What is a Hyperbaric Chamber?

A hyperbaric chamber, also known as a decompression chamber, is an air-tight, pressure-controlled enclosure designed to simulate varying ambient pressures, either at altitude or at depth, for a range of medical, scientific, and diving-related applications.

Hyperbaric chambers can be mobile or stationary and are operated by trained technicians. They consist of a sealed, cylindrical chamber, equipped with seating or beds, a monitoring and control panel, and communication devices. Patients enter the chamber, which is then pressurized to a specific depth. 

The primary purpose of a hyperbaric chamber in scuba diving is to treat decompression sickness (DCS), a potentially life-threatening condition that may occur when divers ascend too quickly and nitrogen gas bubbles form in their bloodstream and tissues. By recreating the pressure at depth, the chamber allows the body to gradually and safely off-gas the excess nitrogen, reducing the risk of complications and promoting recovery. Treatment sessions for decompression sickness (DCS) are called “dives.” They can vary in duration and may require multiple sessions for optimal results.

Beyond treating decompression sickness (DCS), hyperbaric chambers are utilized in various medical treatments, such as enhancing wound healing, treating carbon monoxide poisoning, and addressing certain infections. They also serve as a research tool for studying the effects of pressure on the human body and other materials.

Are Hyperbaric Chamber’s used for Training?

Divers, especially those involved in technical or professional diving, may undergo hyperbaric chamber training to familiarize themselves with the experience of being in a pressurized environment, as well as to learn about the symptoms and treatment of decompression sickness (DCS).

Safety Precautions when using a Hyperbaric Chamber

Hyperbaric chamber use is subject to strict safety protocols to minimize risks. Patients must follow guidelines regarding clothing, personal items, and behavior while inside the chamber. Technicians monitor the pressure, temperature, and gas composition throughout the treatment to ensure patient safety and comfort.