Multiplace Hyperbaric Chambers

Fink Engineering multiplace hyperbaric chamber interior
Interior of a multiplace chamber showing seated
and reclining patients.
Image courtesy of Fink Engineering.

Multiplace hyperbaric chambers include a wide variety of devices. While many medical chambers are found at hospitals, some independent hyperbaric clinics and specialized hyperbaric treatment centers also operate multiplace chambers.

In multiplace chambers the ambient atmosphere is composed of the same mix of gases as normal air, about 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen, with the balance made up of water vapor and traces of other gases. Patients usually receive 100% oxygen through a hood or mask. Patients who have already been equipped with one for other reasons may receive 100% oxygen through an endotracheal tube. Clinical staff accompanying patients may also breathe oxygen through a mask to prevent decompression sickness.

The design and construction of multiplace hyperbaric chambers has advanced considerably in recent years. Today’s largest state-of-the-art chambers are integrated into hospital architecture to appear and function as treatment rooms. These facilities accommodate a wide range of diagnostic and care equipment and enable clinicians to provide considerable support to patients.

Modern multiplace chambers may also include one or more airlocks. While all chambers include a door that is sealed during chamber pressurization, the double doors of an airlock enable staff and patients to leave the chamber while it remains fully pressurized. Chambers with multiple airlocks can treat groups of patients requiring different treatment pressures and durations. Airlock chambers are often also equipped with smaller airlock hatches that permit clinicians to safely pass medicines, blood samples, and other small objects into and out of the chamber.

Treatment Features

  • Rectangular multiplace chambers and many cylindrical designs have rectangular entryways that enable patients and staff to enter the chamber standing.
  • Multiplace chambers accommodate specialized patient seating, wheelchairs, and gurneys. Patients may be seated or lie down during treatment.
  • Staff and patients may move about in the multiplace chamber as necessary, as the size and configuration of the chamber permit.
  • Some multiplace chambers have climate control systems for greater patient comfort.
  • Patients communicate directly with people inside the multiplace chamber and through an intercom system with people outside.
  • Many multiplace chambers are equipped with video entertainment systems. The choice of material may be a treatment center or a group decision. Some multiplace treatment centers permit patients to bring books and magazines into the chamber.

Modern multiplace chambers are equipped with fire suppression systems. Fire risk is low in multiplace chambers, because the supply of 100% oxygen is limited to oxygen hoods, masks, and connection tubes.

Modern multiplace chambers may also include one or more airlocks. While all chambers include a door that is sealed during chamber pressurization, the double doors of an airlock enable staff and patients to leave the chamber while it remains fully pressurized. Chambers with multiple airlocks can treat groups of patients requiring different treatment pressures and durations. Airlock chambers are often also equipped with smaller airlock hatches that permit clinicians to safely pass medicines, blood samples, and other small objects into and out of the chamber.

Safety

Modern multiplace chambers are equipped with fire suppression systems. Fire risk is low in multiplace chambers, because the supply of 100% oxygen is limited to oxygen hoods, masks, and connection tubes.

Patients concerned about equipment safety can ask to see the manufacturer’s or the treatment center’s routine maintenance and safety inspection records. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) affixes a metal identification plate on every hyperbaric chamber certified as a pressure vessel for human occupancy (PVHO-1).

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Updated: 28 Aug 2015 03:33 PM
Created: 28 Aug 2015 08:07 AM
By: About the authors »