Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) infuses the body with oxygen, increasing levels by up to 1000% in body tissues, depending upon the chamber settings. The increased oxygen levels in blood and plasma oxygenate tissues that have been starved of oxygen, inducing such healing processes as the proliferation of fibroblasts and increased angiogenesis. Fibroblasts are progenitor cells that promote connective tissue growth, and angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. This method of improving oxygenation and healing processes supports a reduction in the damage suffered in heart disease and possible healing of damaged tissues.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers further benefits for the cardiac patient’s recovery. It increases oxygen intake, for building collateral circulation. Because the hyperbaric chamber pressurizes the atmosphere, it acts as a detoxifier as well. Treatment gently forces oxygen into the tissues through pressurization, which in turn forces toxins, chemicals, and other unwanted impurities out. Because the heart’s primary function is to supply oxygenated blood to the whole body, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an invaluable adjunct.
by Rashmi Gulati, MD