Mather Hospital’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Unit (HBOT) treats a wide range of conditions that respond to intense oxygenation, saving sight, limbs and lives. Mather’s HBOT unit is the first of its kind on Long Island and is today the only one in Suffolk County available for emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients receive treatment in comfortable, pressurized chambers that deliver 100 percent oxygen.
Staffed by critical care nurses, the unit has eight physicians representing family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pulmonology and cardiology. Three physicians are board certified in hyperbaric medicine.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Works
The body’s tissues need a suitable supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive. HBOT increases the amount of oxygen in blood and blood plasma. This increase in oxygen temporarily restores normal levels of blood gases and tissue function enabling the body to heal and fight infection.
What Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treats
Long called upon to treat divers with decompression sickness or “the bends,”HBOT is now used to treat a variety of medical conditions including carbon monoxide poisoning; non-healing wounds, especially in diabetics; and soft tissue injury or infection due to radiation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also helps to preserve skin grafts and flaps, and most recently has been shown to be effective treating patients with sudden blindness due to retinal artery occlusion.
Abdominal Radiation Injury – Enteritis, Colitis, Proctitis
When radiation is used to treat cancers of the colon, prostate, rectum and gynecological organs it can cause chronic inflammation and damage to the tissues and blood vessels in the abdomen and pelvis. This damage is radiation injury and is classified as enteritis (intestine), colitis (colon) or proctitis (rectum). HBOT provides extra oxygen to help repair the damage caused by radiation, promoting the formation of new blood vessels to replace the blood vessels damaged by radiation. The improved blood flow helps tissues regenerate and remain healthy.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Open sores or wounds appearing on the bottom of the foot, known as diabetic foot ulcers, occur among 15% of people with diabetes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. HBOT provides extra oxygen to help repair the non-healing wound, causing the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) to replace the blood vessels damaged by diabetes. The increased blood flow helps to heal the wound. Also, hyperbaric oxygen enhances the action of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that forms in a chronic wound.
The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Unit works with Mather’s Wound Treatment Center in Port Jefferson.
Radiation therapy that is used to treat cancers of the prostate, bladder, colon, rectum, ovaries, vagina and cervix can cause injury to the bladder. HBOT provides extra oxygen to help repair the damage caused by radiation. Unlike standard treatments, HBOT helps new blood vessels to grow and replace the blood vessels damaged by radiation. The improved blood flow helps tissues heal and remain healthy.
Hyperbaric therapy is covered by most insurances.