Hyperbaric Medicine

Computer generated drawing of the Hyperbaric Chambers

The Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology is the Southeast’s regional referral center for Hyperbaric Medicine. It is a multi-place, critical care-oriented, hyperbaric facility available 24 hours a day.

Duke Chamber Facts:

  • Duke is the only hyperbaric facility in North Carolina accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
  • Duke is the only hyperbaric facility in the Mid Atlantic Region staffed with physicians who are all board certified in the specialty of Hyperbaric Medicine.
  • Duke is the first hyperbaric center in North America to receive UHMS accreditation “With Distinction.”
  • Duke is the only civilian hyperbaric facility in the United States that carries the US Navy Certification.

The facility is internationally recognized for its research in the areas of carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity and the adverse effects of radiation. The Center also serves as the backup facility in the area for the treatment of diving injuries for the United States Armed Forces as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and local police, fire, and rescue agencies.

The center faculty comprise the physicians of Duke Dive Medicine, a medical practice specializing in the physiology of human exposure to extreme environments.

Duke Center For Hyperbaric Medicine & Environmental Physiology
Trent Dr., Building CR2
Room 0584, Box 3823
Durham, NC 27710

UHMS Indications for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society Definition of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is a treatment, in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen intermittently while inside a treatment chamber at a pressure higher than sea level pressure (i.e., >1 atmosphere absolute; atm abs). It can be viewed as the new application of an old, established technology to help resolve certain recalcitrant, expensive, or otherwise hopeless medical problems. In certain circumstances, it represents the primary treatment modality while in others it is an adjunct to surgical or pharmacologic interventions.

Treatment can be carried out in either a mono‑ or multiplace chamber. The former accommodates a single patient; the entire chamber is pressurized with 100% oxygen, and the patient breathes the ambient chamber oxygen directly. The latter holds two or more people (patients, observers, and/or support personnel); the chamber is pressurized with compressed air while the patients breathe 100% oxygen via masks, head hoods, or endotracheal tubes. According to the UHMS definition and the determination of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other third party carriers, breathing 100% oxygen at 1 atmosphere of pressure or exposing isolated parts of the body to 100% oxygen does not constitute HBO2 therapy. The patient must receive the oxygen by inhalation within a pressurized chamber. Current information indicates that pressurization should be to 1.4 atm abs or higher.

The following indications are approved uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as defined by the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee. The Committee Report can be purchased directly through the UHMS.

1. Air or Gas Embolism
2. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Complicated By Cyanide Poisoning
3. Clostridial Myositis and Myonecrosis (Gas Gangrene)
4. Crush Injury, Compartment Syndrome and Other Acute Traumatic Ischemias
5. Decompression Sickness
6. Arterial Insufficiencies:
Central Retinal Artery Occlusion
Enhancement of Healing In Selected Problem Wounds
7. Severe Anemia
8. Intracranial Abscess
9. Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
10. Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
11. Delayed Radiation Injury (Soft Tissue and Bony Necrosis)
12. Compromised Grafts and Flaps
13. Acute Thermal Burn Injury
14. Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural  Hearing Loss
15. Osteonecrosis (New! Approved June 2022 by the UHMS Board of Directors)


16. Randomized Controlled Trials
17. Side Effects

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY INDICATIONS: 12th Edition can be purchased at the following link: Click Here