Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Risks

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) holds promise as a treatment for various medical conditions, but it is not without risks. Understanding these risks is crucial for informed decision-making.

We will explore the common side effects and rare complications associated with HBOT, as well as the precautions and contraindications to consider. Additionally, we will discuss the safety measures that should be implemented during HBOT sessions.

By examining the evidence-based information provided, you can make well-informed choices regarding your health and well-being.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects can occur as a result of undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). While this therapy is generally safe, it is important to be aware of potential risks.

One common side effect is ear barotrauma, which may cause discomfort or pain in the ears due to pressure changes.

Another side effect is sinus barotrauma, which can lead to nasal congestion, facial pain, or a feeling of pressure in the sinuses.

Some individuals may also experience temporary changes in vision, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Additionally, oxygen toxicity can occur if the therapy is administered for prolonged periods or at high pressures. Symptoms may include seizures, dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing.

It is crucial to discuss these potential side effects with a healthcare professional before undergoing HBOT to ensure a safe and effective treatment experience.

Rare Complications

Rare complications can arise from undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and should be considered when evaluating the potential risks of this treatment.

While HBOT is generally safe, there have been reports of rare complications associated with its use. These complications include oxygen toxicity, barotrauma, and decompression sickness.

Oxygen toxicity can occur when a patient is exposed to high levels of oxygen for an extended period, leading to seizures or lung damage.

Barotrauma refers to injuries caused by changes in pressure, such as damage to the middle ear or sinuses.

Decompression sickness, also known as ‘the bends,’ can occur when nitrogen bubbles form in the bloodstream due to rapid decompression.

It is important for patients to be aware of these rare complications and discuss them with their healthcare provider before undergoing HBOT.

Precautions and Contraindications

Before undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), it is important to consider several precautions and contraindications to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

First, it is essential to inform the healthcare provider about any medical conditions, such as lung diseases, heart problems, or ear issues, as these may affect the suitability of HBOT.

Additionally, individuals with certain medical conditions, such as untreated pneumothorax or untreated high fever, may be contraindicated for HBOT. Other contraindications may include pregnancy, seizure disorders, and certain medications that can increase the risk of oxygen toxicity.

It is crucial to have a thorough evaluation and discussion with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriateness of HBOT and to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Safety Measures During HBOT

Prioritizing safety is paramount during hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and several measures are implemented to ensure the well-being of patients undergoing the treatment. To guarantee the safety of patients, the following safety measures are typically observed during HBOT:

Patient Screening: Prior to undergoing HBOT, patients are thoroughly screened to identify any potential risks or contraindications. This includes assessing their medical history, current medications, and any existing conditions that may affect their suitability for the treatment.

Qualified Staff: HBOT is administered by trained and qualified healthcare professionals who have received specific training in hyperbaric medicine. These professionals are responsible for monitoring the patients throughout the session and responding promptly to any emergencies or adverse reactions.


In conclusion, hyperbaric oxygen therapy carries both common side effects and rare complications, making it necessary to exercise caution and follow safety measures.

Precautions and contraindications should be considered before undergoing this treatment. It is important to be aware of the potential risks involved and consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriateness of this therapy.

As the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ and taking necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and effective treatment experience.


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