The Science and Physiology
behind Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, much greater amounts of oxygen are able to be diffused into the body. HBO works because of the physical properties of gases under pressure, specifically, oxygen at pressure greater than 1 atmosphere. Oxygen is essential in a variety of enzymatic, biochemical, and physiologic interactions that promote normal cellular respiration and tissue function. Mono-oxygenase, intradioxygenase, and interdioxygenase are specific enzymes that recruit oxygen as a cofactor to perform required biologic processes. Collagen deposition and synthesis depend on an oxygen-dependent prolyl-hydroxylase hydroxylation of proline. Angiogenesis and epithelization also are oxygen dependent.
Under normal conditions, 97.5% of oxygen is carried in the bloodstream bound to hemoglobin. The remaining 2.5% is dissolved in plasma. Oxygen is combined with hemoglobin in the bloodstream, with each gram of hemoglobin combined with 1.34 cm 3 of oxygen. This represents a physiologic maximum. Under normal conditions at sea level, the arterial hemoglobin saturation is 97%, and the venous hemoglobin saturation is 70%. The oxygen content can be calculated with the following equation:
Oxygen Content = 1.34 mL of O2/g of Hb X g of Hb/100 cm3 X Percent Saturation
Above 200 mL of mercury of pressure, the oxygen dissolved in plasma significantly increases. This is calculated with the Henry law:
Dissolved Oxygen (vol %) = 0.0031 (mL O2/100 cm3/mm Hg) X PaO2
The total oxygen content of blood under hyperbaric conditions is equal to the oxygen content calculation plus the dissolved oxygen content. The average metabolic consumption of oxygen by the human body at sea level is 6.6 cm3/100 cm3 of blood. Under hyperbaric conditions, while breathing 100% oxygen, the total dissolved oxygen content delivered can even surpass the metabolic requirements, meaning that oxygen can be supplied under these conditions even in the absence of hemoglobin.
Laws of Physics
Charles law states that if a volume of gas is kept constant, the temperature varies with the pressure. Together, Charles and Boyle laws are known as the general gas law, expressed as P1V1/T1 = P2V2/T2. Henry law states that "at a constant temperature, the amount of a gas that will dissolve in a liquid is proportional to the partial pressure of the gas."
Bottom Line: For your health, begin to think cellular! The health of your cells determines the health of your bodily tissues, which then determines the health of each of your organs of life.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy dissolves much greater amounts of oxygen into your cells -> tissues -> organs. Hyperbaric Oxygen dissolves increased oxygen into your blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. One of the most important facts to understand is that the health and functioning of your brain, one of your many organs, is most sensitive to oxygen deficiencies. The brain is also the most responsive organ to oxygen super-saturation. This the reason stroke victims, as well as other patients who have brain and nervous system-related conditions, and those with cognitive difficulties, respond so well to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
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