Health and Fitness

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Thermal Burns: Does it Work?

Thermal burns fall into the category of serious injury that demands immediate treatment.

Reportedly, developing and under-developed nations, specifically the ones belonging to the Asia-Pacific region and Africa, witness two-thirds of deaths due to thermal burns.

The global statistics further substantiate86% of all burn cases are thermal (43% cases are fire-induced, 34% arising from scalds, and 9% by coming in contact with hot objects). The remaining 4% are electrical burns, 3% chemical, and 7% are other kinds.

As such, thermal burns lead to high morbidity and extensive hospitalization and in extreme cases, might leave a person with a permanent disability. To make matters worse, the cost of treating thermal burns is way beyond the reach of several families. This is primarily why Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), and, in essence, hyperbaric chamber cost, holds a key to the treatment.

With HBOT therapy, medicos have been able to help patients admitted with a thermal burn by significantly reducing their stay in hospital. Hyperbaric chamber cost is one factor that gives an upper hand after being on the pricey side, it is always a better option than a prolonged stay at the hospital. More so, a hyperbaric chamber can be put to multiple uses.

This post takes a dig at understanding thermal burns and how HBOT has been a lifesaver in several cases.

Understanding Thermal Burns And Their Classifications

Before a thermal burn is treated, it is necessary to understand the degree of damage done.

Broadly speaking, thermal burns are classified into four categories, namely first, second, third, and fourth-degree burns.

  • First-degree burns– Also known as the superficial burn, it’s where the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) is affected. Usually, in a first-degree burn, the affected site turns red and dry, leaving one with pain but no blisters. One such instance of a first-degree burn is a mild sunburn. Normally, in a first-degree burn, there rarely occurs any tissue damage, and the skin changes color from light to dark.
  • Second-degree burns– These are partial-thickness burns, involving the epidermis and the dermis skin layers. Unlike first-degree burns, the affected site is both red and has blisters too. At times, they can also be swollen, leaving a patient in severe pain.
  • Third-degree burns– These are full-thickness burns, here both dermis and epidermis layers have been severely damaged. The site looks pretty much similar to a second-degree burn.
  • Fourth-degree burns– A thermal burn involving significant damage to the skin as well as underlying muscles, tendons, and bones alike. The affected site takes on a charred, white appearance and may or may not have any sensation as the nerve endings have been damaged as well. Also, the blood vessels carrying oxygen are no longer functioning and thus it’s rendered the most serious condition.

How HBOT Helps With Thermal Burns

When we talk about thermal burn treatment, it all boils down to the following goals:

  • Mitigating the chance of edema
  • Maintain tissue viability across the static zone
  • Protect and restore microvascular circulation, and
  • Enhance the immune system

In this case, it is necessary to remember that during the healing process, specifically if it’s a prolonged one, scarring can occur at just about any point in time. And this is where an alternative approach like HBOT comes into play and the understanding of the hyperbaric chamber cost.

As the patient breathes in pure, unadulterated oxygen at a pressure higher than sea level (>2 ATM), it diffuses much faster, direct, and deeper into the tissues.

HBOT has been used, time and again, as a therapeutic way to treat second and third-degree burns. In most cases, it was observed that the initial injury caused by thermal burn was shortly followed by tissue loss as the blood vessels surrounding the area were also damaged. Such occurrences further lead to tissue death due to the backward flow of blood and hypoxia.

As an obvious consequence, the body fails to recognize its tissue and directs the immune system to act against it. As it would have done in the case of an invader. In other words, the body’s immunity becomes compromised, thereby leading to multiple tissue death (Ischemia-reperfusion injury).

HBOT is normally administered within 48 hours of the occurrence to help maintain oxygen saturation levels and thereby stop advanced tissue damage. HBOT has also been found to significantly reduce the chance of ischemia-reperfusion so that the body’s natural immunity stays intact and the normal healing process can take its course.

Wrap Up

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy packs in great potential to treat cases of thermal burns. Especially, serious ones, like third and fourth-degree burns.

In a research study tracing the role of HBOT for thermal burns. Twenty patients were subjected to the therapy showing a positive response. Not only in terms of healing but also in lessening their stay in hospital.

If you have been advised for HBOT to treat thermal burns and thereafter as a continued form of treatment to speed up the healing, you might want to check out hyperbaric chamber costs if you plan on bringing one home.

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