AHS is a physician-led membership-based organization that provides advocacy, services, and resources for physicians in Arizona. These services and resources have evolved over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of physicians.
Hyperbaric Oxygen is FDA approved for 14 conditions and new research points to a number of off-label uses. AHS provides members with up-to-date Hyperbaric news, education and discounts on chambers as well as conferences.
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If the proper precautions are followed, then Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be a very safe and effective means of treatment for a number of conditions. The FDA has cleared 14 conditions for treatment and the international community has provided guidance on a number of other diagnoses.
The exponential growth in hyperbaric medicine treatment centers in the United States and throughout the world has created a demand for large numbers of new employees, some of whom have no experience and little training. This expansion has heightened the concern for patient safety.
1. All staff working at a hyperbaric facility must know the potential for error and use that information to safely operate the chamber and its support equipment.
2. To reduce risk to patients and staff, it is important to regularly review hyperbaric mishaps and consider the lessons learned from prior experience in order to avoid repeating them.
3. There are five basic safety issues including integrity of the pressure vessel, safe gas handling practices, decompression safety, fire safety, and training.
4. Clinical hyperbaric chambers and systems used for patient care in the US must be constructed in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Standards for Pressure Vessels the [Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) and Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy (PVHO)] or an international equivalent. FDA cleared HBOT chambers are vital to protecting patients and the Hyperbaric community.
5. Damage to the gas cylinder can occur if it is overheated, dropped, or rusts. Heat causes an increase in pressure inside the cylinder that can cause the cylinder to explode. Regular inspection of cylinders and function is paramount.
6. The fire marshal will need to inspect the Hyperbaric facility and will want to know where all of the oxygen cylinders are in service or stored within your facility. Additionally multiplace chambers will need to be inspected for fire suppression.
7. Many clinical hyperbaric chamber fires have been started by the chamber occupants (staff or patients who smoked, patients who were cold, patients with cell phones, and children with toys). Safety precautions regarding fires and items that cannot be taken into the chambers must be posted and visible to patients. Following the guidance from the Board of Underseas Medicine is the best approach to HBOT safety.
8. The only survivors of Hyperbaric fires have been in chambers pressurized with air in which the oxygen percentage was known to be below 24%. Using an Oxygen detector to determine percentage of Oxygen in the camber will reduce the risk of fires.
9. The amount of flammable material must be limited. 100% xottone clothing is advised by the Board of underseas Medicine. Makeup, lotion and oils can increase the risk of fire and must be removed prior to treatment.
10. Checklists should be used for daily operations. Patients should be briefed about items that are excluded from the chamber and reminded prior to each treatment.
11. The staff must be trained, present, and vigilant in order to avoid mishaps. Each member of the staff should attend formal training. A Certified Hyperbaric technologist should be present for all hyperbaric treatments.
12. Physicians should attend a course in Hyperbaric Medicine consisting of at least 40 academic hours. Courses can be certified by any of the Hyperbaric boards or associations.
13. The hyperbaric facility is only safe if a qualified team adheres to establish safety practices is operating the facility.
Patients and providers have questions, we have answers. Contact us to join the Arizona Hyperbaric Society to increase your knowledge base and to ensure safest practices are followed.