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975 East Third Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Children's Hospital at Erlanger Erlanger Baroness Campus Erlanger Bledsoe Campus Erlanger East Campus Erlanger North Campus UT Erlanger Physicians Group

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Oxygen Therapy

How Oxygen Therapy can Help

A highly effective treatment recognized by the American Medical Association and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Medicare, HBO is now available at leading medical centers throughout the U.S. Among them is Erlanger, the only Level 1 accredited Hyperbaric Medicine program in Tennessee. The program, accredited by the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society, is available 24 hours a day for emergency care and retains the only certified hyperbaric nurses and technician, as well as one of only 180 physicians nationwide – and the only one in the region – who is board-certified in hyperbaric medicine. It’s an important distinction, and the quality of our medical team underscores Erlanger’s commitment to excellence.

Erlanger’s Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center uses hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy for specific wound care cases. While HBO has long been considered standard management for divers with decompression sickness, it’s now being used to treat a rapidly growing number of conditions. While it traditionally has been available only at major metropolitan medical centers, Erlanger has specialized in hyperbaric medicine for years as the first in the region to offer HBO therapy.

Following a physician’s referral, you’ll undergo careful evaluation by members of our medical team specially trained and credentialed in hyperbaric medicine. HBO therapy is often used to treat the following conditions:

  • Enhancement of healing problem wounds
  • Non-healing skin grafts
  • Soft tissue infection
  • Chronic osteomyelitis
  • Crush injuries
  • Gas gangrene
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cerebral arterial gas embolism
  • Exceptional blood loss anemia
  • Radiation tissue injury
  • Thermal burns
  • Decompression sickness

Oxygen, when breathed under increased atmospheric pressure, is a potent drug.  Erlanger’s HBO facility features state-of-the-art monochambers and ancillary equipment that ensure the safe and effective application of HBO. Through this non-invasive and painless regimen, highly oxygenated blood accelerates wound healing by stimulating the body’s own defense mechanisms. The chamber is pressurized with 100 percent oxygen, which is 20 to 30 times more oxygen than we normally breathe. This saturation of oxygen in the body’s tissues promotes new tissue development, increased white blood cell activity, reduced infection rates and edema, and the formation of new blood vessels to promote permanent healing.

During treatment, you’ll lie comfortably on a contoured bed within the transparent, double-acrylic walls of the hyperbaric chamber. The oxygen will begin to circulate, starting a gradual increase in pressure and producing a relaxing sound much like the wind. Our hyperbaric specialists remain by your side throughout the treatment to adjust the rate of compression. They’ll also coach you on relieving the mild pressure that you may feel in your ears as you adjust to the change in air pressure. If you have this sensation, you’ll find it similar to what you experience when flying in an airplane.

When the chamber reaches the prescribed pressure, you’ll be free to sleep, watch television, or listen to music. You’ll be able to communicate with the attending technician by intercom. The technician will gradually decrease pressure in the chamber to end your treatment. 

For more information, call the Erlanger Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at (423) 778-5135 (Wound Care) or 778-6004 (HBO).

Erlanger's Wound Care Center
(423) 778-5135

Erlanger's Hyperbaric Medicine Center
(423) 778-6004

Convenient, street-level access to the Center is available at the Erlanger Baroness Campus's West Wing entrance on Hampton Street near the Health Department. Marked by a blue awning, the entrance has a handicapped-accessible drop-off lane just off East Third Street, has no stairs to manage, and all doors open automatically.