Diving for Medical Innovations

What do you call a chamber that you sit in for purposes of taking in a higher level of oxygen? You call it a hyperbaric chamber, and it’s a legit medical device that’s used in many hospitals these days. There’s a fact that I learned just now, while catching up with a mate for a smoothie after yoga class.

I’ll backtrack to give you some context. Katrina recently completed some comprehensive scuba dive instructor training. The course involved a component on addressing decompression sickness, which (previously unbeknown to me) is a condition that can affect divers. Basically, it’s when dissolved gases (mainly nitrogen) form bubbles, which can interfere with just about any part of the body, including the vital organs, so it can be fatal if not treated.

Anyway, one of the most common treatments for this is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Options in Melbourne for this include treatment in hospitals, some of which have multiplace, sit-in chambers, or using a portable version of the chamber that can be set up anywhere. From what Katrina said, it sounded like the latter is an important piece of equipment in many diving operations, as not all hospitals have hyperbaric clinics.

I was interested when she mentioned that there are portable hyperbaric chambers for sale to the public. Melbourne, as it turns out, is somewhere that people come to scuba dive – again, I had no idea that this was the case – and thus Katrina has duly investigated how to get hold of these things here. It’s quite simple, from the sounds of it. You can order them online from a local manufacturer.

I assume that means that hyperbaric treatment is safe enough for a regular Joe to administer. Katrina assures me that that’s true of the mild version that’s delivered through these portable chambers. She went on to say that they’re more geared towards people who need repeated hyperbaric treatment for an ongoing or chronic condition; in such cases, having a chamber at home would reduce the cost of that dramatically.