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Hyperbaric Medicine

Westchester Medical Center's Hyperbaric Center accepts more than 4,500 chronic wound patient visits per year from all over the NY-NJ-CT area. The Center is accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and a designated hospital for Divers Alert Network (DAN). Our multi-disciplinary approach to successful chronic wound treatment includes important factors such as patient nutrition, medication, transportation and social services, as well as specialized, reconstructive surgery, physical therapy and the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as necessary. We believe that our friendly and comprehensive patient care is essential in improving the quality of life for chronic wound patients and their families.

To make an appointment please call (914) 493-1500 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The Hyperbaric Center is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

          

About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO2 or HBOT) is a unique method of delivering high doses of oxygen in order to help the body heal. "Hyperbaric" means greater than barometric or sea-level air pressure. It is accomplished by breathing 100% oxygen while inside a Hyperbaric Chamber that is pressurized to greater that normal barometric pressure. At normal atmospheric pressure the only way oxygen can be carried to body tissues is by the red blood cells.

The increased pressure produced in the hyperbaric chamber permits the oxygen you breathe also to be dissolved in the liquid (plasma) part of your blood. This extra dissolved oxygen in the blood plasma permits the delivery of oxygen to tissues in your body in amounts that cannot occur by any other form of oxygen treatment. This increased oxygen promotes the body's own healing mechanisms and helps fight infection.

The Treatments

HBOT is an "adjunctive therapy"; that is, it is used along with other forms of medical treatment prescribed by your doctor. HBOT is not a "cure all," but a part of your total medical or surgical care. The extra oxygen not only helps wounds heal; it also stimulates the body's own immune system and helps the body fight infection.

Each treatment takes approximately 90 minutes. Patients are generally treated once a day, 5 to 6 days per week, for a total of 20 to 60 treatments depending on the medical condition and response to therapy. Some medical conditions may require therapy twice a day. During the therapy, you may watch your favorite movie or TV program, listen to the radio, or even sleep. You are always in direct communication and under the visual supervision of our staff.

Side Effects

Normally, the only significant side effect is that it is necessary to equalize the pressure in the ears. A few patients have noticed an improvement in vision; others have had a slight worsening of their vision over a very long course of treatment. This is only a temporary condition, so save your glasses, because if your vision changes, it will normally return to its pretreatment condition. If you have a change, you should wait 3 or 4 months after you have finished treatments before having your eyes reexamined.

If you have cataracts, there is a remote chance they may ripen. If you have questions about this, our staff will be glad to answer them for you.

Preparation

The first thing you must do to prepare for your treatment is to change into a garment made of 100% cotton. You may come to the hospital already dressed in clean all cotton clothes. Many patients like to wear a sweatshirt and pants during treatments.

A Technician will assist you in lying down on the couch and will place you in the chamber. Now we are ready to pressurize the chamber; this is when you need to equalize the pressure in your ears.

As the treatment begins you will hear some noise, like wind blowing, as the chamber fills with oxygen. Compression takes about 4-10 minutes and you will have to equalize your ears several times during this phase. Notify the Technician at the first sign of discomfort in your ears or sinuses so we can stop compression and help you equalize.

You will notice the chamber gets warm during compression. When our treatment pressure is attained, we will continually ventilate the chamber with fresh oxygen and control the temperature during the entire treatment.

After your treatment is finished we slowly decompress the chamber. This takes about 4-6 minutes and you will notice that the chamber temperature is cooler. You don't need to blow into your ears during the decompression phase. Your ears will clear automatically, but you may notice a "crackling" or "popping" sound. This is completely normal.

Safety

A Hyperbaric Treatment is much safer than, for example, flying in a commercial airplane. To eliminate any risk to your safety while inside the chamber, we take several precautions. Precautions include electrically grounding your body to the chamber, and the use of 100% Cotton to eliminate any possibility of static electrical sparking that might occur with synthetic fabrics. Here are more precautions:

THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE THE CHAMBER:

  • Smoking materials, lighters, or matches
  • Hand warmers, or any device that may create heat, fire or sparks
  • Vaseline or oil based products like lipsticks, hair oil, hair spray, make-up, and skin lotions
  • Hearing aids, some pacemakers, and other electronic devices
  • Newspapers, or other loose papers except one book or magazine
  • Synthetic garments such as polyester, nylon, rayon, etc.
  • False teeth or other appliances; consult the technician about this.

Why Some Wounds Will Not Heal

Many non-healing wounds and sores are actually caused by other illness or underlying medical conditions that the patient may not be aware of. Diabetes, smoking, other causes of poor blood circulation, heart problems, poor nutrition and conflicting combinations of medications can often cause wounds to develop-especially in the legs and feet-that simply will not heal using conventional medicine.

Why Our Service is so Different

We believe that our friendly and comprehensive patient care can be definitive in improving the quality of life for chronic wound patients and their families. Since 1988, the Chronic Wound Treatment Program and Hyperbaric Center has cured thousands of patients suffering with non-healing wounds. Our knowledgeable team of Doctors and Staff are uniquely experienced in all areas of Chronic Wound Management. We utilize the latest medical research and advanced technology in the treatment of wounds that have failed to heal. Our multi-disciplinary approach includes important factors such as patient nutrition, medications, transportation, social services, reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, and the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as necessary. Our success rates are outstanding.

Our Objective is to enhance the Quality of Life for all our patients and their families that suffer from the hardship, pain and disability of lesions. We work in conjunction with your Primary Care Physician in evaluating the reasons for your past delays in wound healing. Every patient that comes to our Center receives an individual treatment plan that aggressively targets the underlying cause of his or her condition.

  • Complete physical examination
  • Individualized treatment plan
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Travel assistance
  • Homecare needs
  • Free Parking

Preventing Limb Amputations - Care with Compassion

Our comprehensive and individualized medical care can often heal the most difficult non-healing wounds which compromise quality of life and threaten permanent disability and possible limb amputation. In fact, many of the patients and families that come to us for a second opinion actually don't need an amputation, just the next level of care.

It's Your Choice

If you and your loved ones have been suffering with disability and the seemingly endless attempts to heal your persistent sores or bone infection without success; if you have been told that there is nothing medically left to do for your illness and face the possibility of limb amputation, come see us. We specialize in treating patients just like you, with outstanding results. Call us for an appointment.

The use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is monitored by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. HBOT is considered the standard of care, or an adjunct, for the following conditions:

Vascular Insufficiency

  • Enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds
  • Failed skin grafts
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Pyoderma

Ischemia

  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia, compartment syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemias, when loss of function, limb or life is threatened
  • Crush injury-suturing of severed limbs when loss of function, limb, or life is threatened

Infections

  • Subcutaneous necrotizing soft tissue infection (Flesh eating disease)
  • Actinomycosis: selected refractory anaerobic infections
  • Crepitant anaerobic cellulitis
  • Osteomyelitis (refractory)
  • Progressive bacterial gangrene
  • Nonclostridial myonecrosis
  • Fournier's disease

Effects of Radiation

  • Osteoradionecrosis (particularly of the mandible)
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis, including cystitis, enteritis and proctitis
  • Surgical wounding in radiation damaged tissues

Acute Systemic

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning, acute smoke inhalation
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Air or gas embolism
  • Decompression sickness