Physiological Principles of Hyperbaric Oxygenation

  • E. M. Camporesi
  • M. F. Mascia
  • S. R. Thom


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) entails exposure of the whole body to increased atmospheric pressure usually between 2 and 3 atmospheres (atm abs) while breathing pure oxygen or oxygen-enriched gas mixtures. The therapeutic use of 100% O2 at pressures exceeding 3 atm abs is limited, because it is frequently accompanied by rapid onset, in minutes, of neurological symptoms, leading to seizures and loss of consciousness. Neurological toxicity sharply limits the upper limits of inspired oxygen partial pressures to 2000 mmHg. The therapeutic use of exposure pressures higher than 3 atm abs, while breathing helium-oxygen (Heliox) or nitrogen-oxygen (Nitrox) mixtures, does not appear to have significant clinical advantages over the exposure of 3 atm abs. A low limit for therapeutic oxygenation is exposure to oxygen-enriched air at i atm abs (ambient pressure), as is routinely used in the hospital setting. Clinical experience has shown that significant therapeutic results appear at 1.6–1.8 atm abs oxygen.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Physiological Principle Hyperbaric Medicine Phagocytic Killing 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. M. Camporesi
    • 1
  • M. F. Mascia
    • 2
  • S. R. Thom
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiologySUNY Health Science CenterSyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Anaesthesiology and Critical Care SUNY Health Science CenterSyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Emergency Medicine University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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