The Hyperbaric Medicine Service is a component of the Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology which offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy and specialized wound care to patients in the Southeastern U.S.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves patients entering a hyperbaric chamber with higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure in order to breath 100 percent oxygen. The procedure can increase the oxygen concentration in the lungs by ten-fold, which improves the circulatory delivery of oxygen to compromised tissues and creates a positive outcome for patients with certain medical conditions.
Physicians from our division use the Hyperbaric Medicine Center to administer hyperbaric oxygen treatments for lung ailments such as air or gas embolism, decompression illness, carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. Critically ill patients with gas gangrene and other necrotizing infections and chronically ill patients with non-healing wounds are also treated in the chamber.
The chamber also makes it safer to conduct whole lung lavage in patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.
Our program takes part in a number of ongoing research studies to examine the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on the human system.
We are currently enrolling patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis in a registry to help us better understand the disease, its implications, and effective therapies. We also are studying the mechanisms of action of oxygen on the recovery and repair of tissues and organs damaged by infections or by radiation treatments for cancer.