Treatment FAQs

If a patient feels that he/she may benefit from HBO, they should approach their health professional and discuss the possibility of a referral. The health professional may recognize contra-indications or risks and advise the patient accordingly and write a referral letter.

Patients are welcome to contact us directly and schedule an appointment for an assessment and be advised on the next required steps (i.e. check-up with another specialist such as ENT if our doctor encounters any possible problems).

If a nurse / sister or any family member or friend knows of someone who may benefit from HBO, they are welcome to forward our details to the patients concerned. We will gladly schedule an appointment and liaise between health care providers.

We assist our patients with their medical aid approval and will inform the patient and other relevant doctors on their decisions and starting date if approved. If the authorization was denied, we will give the patient the option of paying privately. We will help where we can to assist our patients. All emergency cases will be treated if it is life or limb threatening condition and this will be done without medical aid approval.

While being taken down to pressure, it may feel quite warm and will be a bit noisy.

During this period of recompression (taken down to treatment depth), you will feel the need to equalize your ears intermittently while they adjust to the pressure. (The chamber operator and doctor will explain various techniques on how this may be done)

Once the treatment depth has been reached, you won't feel any different. You are encouraged to relax as much as possible, by watching TV (sound fed to the chamber from the TV), bring a DVD from home, and listen to the radio or just sleep.

Smokers are strongly urged to stop smoking throughout the duration of their treatment schedule (i.e. from day of first session up until a while after the day of the very last session). Smoking (even just one puff) reduces the amount of oxygen that is delivered in the blood to the wound site, therefore counteracting the benefits of oxygen.

  • If you experience cold or flu symptoms, or if there is sinus, nasal or chest congestion
  • A possibility of pregnancy
  • If you have skipped a meal prior to treatment (the treatment may lower your blodd sugar levels)
  • If you are a diabetic and have not taken your insulin prior to treatment
  • If you have any concerns or anxieties

Conditions approved by and accepted internationally by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society:

  • Air or Gas Embolism
  • Carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning
  • Compartment syndrome or Acute peripheral ischemia (e.g. Crush injuries)
  • Compromised Skin flaps or Grafts
  • Decompression Illness ("The Bends")
  • Exceptional blood loss anaemia (in people who cannot receive blood transusions due to religious reasons such as Jehovah's Witnesses, or those that cannot be cross-matched in time)
  • Gas gangrene (Clostridial myositis or myonecrosis) - Should be treated as soon as possible
  • Necrotising soft tissue infections (such as necrotising fascitis)
  • Problem wounds (diabetic ulcers, venous statis ulcers, decubitis ulcers, etc.)
  • Radiation necrosis (osteonecrosis, proctitis, etc.)
  • Refractory osteomyelitis
  • Thermal burns
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Idiopathic Sensorineual Sudden Hearing Loss
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion

  • Untreated pneumothoraces (or history of spontaneous pneumothoraces)
  • Certain types of chemotherapy (will be discussed with the physician)
  • Pregnancy (unless the benefit is greater than the risk e.g. Life threatening situation)
  • Claustrophobia (if severe, otherwise patient may be given medicine to relax)
  • Upper respiratory infection (such as congestion, flu, sinusitis or colds)
  • Hyperthermia
  • Steriods (will be discussed with physician)
  • Acidosis (decreased threshold of oxygen seizures)


The most common are barotraumas to the following body spaces:

  • Sinus cavities (if you are suffering from congestion or flu)
  • Ears (including external, middle and inner)
  • Teeth (infected or restored teeth that may have gas contained inside)
  • Gastro-Intestinal Tract
  • These are due to pressure changes in these spaces (barotraumas usually occur during decompression but preventative measures are in place to prevent barotraumas from occuring).

Oxygen toxicity (rarely occurs) symptons include:

  • Dizziness (or Vertigo)
  • Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears)
  • "Spots" appearing in your vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trembling or shaking in the extremities
  • Tingling sensation in fingers or toes, and occasionally around the mouth
  • Seizures (these are extremely rare, and do not have a permanent effect on the patient as the brain is statured in oxygen and no brain damage occurs)
  • Although side effects seldom occur, they are a possibility. In order for us to prevent these from occurring, we will need to be informed of any flu-like symptoms or congestion, or any concerns whatsoever.