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The purpose of oxygen therapy for the treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning is to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood and restore the oxygen level to normal as quickly as possible and hopefully prevent delayed cognitive problems.
For hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), the affected person lies down on a stretcher. The stretcher slides into an acrylic tube. The pressure inside the tube is raised, and 100% oxygen is delivered under high pressure. After treatment, the chamber is depressurized slowly while the person rests inside.
It is not clear if HBOT works better than oxygen therapy at normal pressure to reduce the risk of cognitive problems, such as lasting damage to memory, attention, and concentration.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen in carbon monoxide poisoning is assessed on a case by case basis.
HBOT can prevent tissue death and promote healing.
Risks of HBOT may include ear pain and rupture of the eardrum. They may also include sinus pressure, a bloody nose, tooth pain, or changes to eyesight. Some people may feel anxious. In very rare cases, it can cause seizures or problems from too much oxygen.
Adaptation Date: 2/18/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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