Pediatric hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Denver

The Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) is recognized nationally as a leader in providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We have the only multiplace hyperbaric chamber in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West. We also have the only hyperbaric-certified team of physicians, nurses and technologists in the Denver metro area.

To schedule an appointment or a phone consultation for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, please call us at (303) 839-6900.

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves breathing 100 percent oxygen in a sealed chamber. This concentration is five times higher than the normal air we breathe. The chamber is also pressurized to create up to three times the normal atmospheric pressure. These changes can improve blood circulation and the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body.

Pediatric hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to promote the healing process and aid in fighting infection. HBOT allows your child’s lungs to procure more oxygen, which increases oxygen levels in the blood. This increase in oxygen helps your child’s body regain proper levels of gases in the blood and increase tissue function.

Your child’s body is able to do its best healing when it is supplied with the resources it needs, like oxygen. HBOT helps the body gather and maintain these resources for optimal healing results.

Conditions we treat with hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used to treat many health concerns in children, including:

  • An air bubble, or embolism, which gets into the circulatory system and blocks blood flow
  • Decompression sickness
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Wound healing, especially in patients with poor circulation
  • Radiation therapy injuries following treatment for cancer
  • Skin grafts, flaps or burns

Hyperbaric oxygen services we offer

Hyperbaric services are provided at the request of your child’s primary care physician or emergency physician. Our pediatric hyperbaric medicine services include:

  • Medical assessment of patients and the establishment of care plans
  • Hyperbaric treatment
  • Wound management, in conjunction with hyperbaric treatment
  • Patient and family education
  • Diving physicals/fitness to dive
  • Regional referral center for the Divers Alert Network

Pediatric hyperbaric therapy consultations

Our hyperbaric oxygen therapy team is available for phone consultations for:

  • Altitude and sea level diving
  • Proper application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
If you are interested in a consultation, please call us Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (MST) at (303) 839-6900.

What to expect with hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Before the procedure

Your child should come to our facility wearing comfortable clothes. Older children and teens should bring a book or an activity they can do while they are in the chamber because the procedure can last from 30 minutes to two hours. In most cases, specialized care after hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children is not needed. Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions.

During the treatment

A technician will gradually pressurize the chamber with 100 percent oxygen. Your child will be able to talk to this person. While in the chamber, your child will be instructed to relax and breathe normally. If your child’s ears pop or if he or she has discomfort, let the technician know so the pressure can be lowered. To relieve any discomfort, your child should swallow or blow with his or her nose.

After getting to the right pressure, your child will be fitted with a clear mask which will deliver oxygen. If your child is at high risk for oxygen toxicity, he or she may be allowed to breathe regular air for brief periods.

After hyperbaric therapy treatment

Over a period of several minutes, the technician will slowly depressurize the hyperbaric chamber. Your child will likely have some ear popping and feel lightheaded and tired. However, your child should be able to go back to his or her daily activities. Your child may have more than one session over a period of several days.

Call your doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your child’s doctor if he or she has any of the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort or pain in the sinuses or ears
  • Onset of seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Cough, shortness of breath or chest pain

In the case of an emergency, always call 911.