January 23, 2017

Side Effects and Complications of HBOT

Before we really delve into the risks of HBOT, we want to stress the fact that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very safe, and most patients experience few to no side effects. That being established, we believe in the power of education here at NeuraPerformance Brain Center, so we want to let you know the possible side effects and complications of HBOT. If you experience any of these side effects or complications, seek immediate help from your treating neurologist or other physician.

Possible Side Effects of HBOT

  • Changes in vision (most commonly worsened nearsightedness) due to changes in eye lens shape.
  • Claustrophobia due to the enclosed space within the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
  • Hypoglycemia in diabetic patients with low blood sugar.
  • Middle ear pain due to the change in air pressure.
  • Enhanced maturation in pre-existing cataracts.

Many of these side effects can be avoided with proper communication and preparation. For example, while all patients are encouraged to eat before hyperbaric oxygen therapy, this is especially vital for diabetic patients. A patient who struggles with claustrophobia, as another example, may benefit from sedation.

Possible Complications of HBOT

  • Deafness caused by the rupture of the round or oval windows within the ears.
  • Pneumothroax (collapsed lung) caused by an inability to relieve air pressure.
  • Seizures caused by oxygen toxicity within the central nervous system.
  • Respiratory failure due to oxygen toxicity within the lungs.
  • Decompression sickness (the bends).

Many of these complications are very unlikely, especially within our clinical setting, so please don’t let these scary “what ifs” keep you from reaping the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. If you think you may be at a particularly high risk for any of these side effects or complications, contact NeuraPerformance, and let’s discuss the ideal treatment plan for your individual symptoms and circumstances. You can even schedule an appointment online.

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