Hyperbaric medicine is not a novel concept in certain hospitals. Indeed, for decades it has been used to treat aeroembolism, also known as decompression syndrome, caused by a sudden decrease of the barometric pressure.
This prompt change of pressure causes the nitrogen in the air we breathe (and contained in the air bottles of a diver) to pass through the alveoli to the bloodstream and tissues, which can cause blood obstructions.. For this reason, some hospitals provide hyperbaric chambers, where patients who have experienced a sudden decompression can be treated in a pressurised environment, enabling them to carry out a gradual decompression.
However, in recent years hyperbaric medicine has developed significantly, and hyperbaric chambers are no longer restricted to certain hospitals that are close to the sea. Their applications extend much further, because breathing oxygen at a high pressure allows for a significant increase in the partial pressure of oxygen in the tissue of patients, which in turn increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood (not through haemoglobin, which is already saturated with oxygen under normal conditions, but through blood plasma).
Many ailments can benefit from high-pressure oxygen therapy in hyperbaric chambers, from the already mentioned gas embolisms or certain ischaemias, in which the supply of oxygen to tissues is reduced, to the treatment of necrotizing soft tissue infections and major burns, since an increase in oxygen facilitates the healing of tissues and the control of aerobic bacteria, in addition to critical patients suffering from major blood losses that cannot be treated with transfusions alone, among other examples.
An increasing number of hospitals are opening hyperbaric medicine units and arcomed, as a world leader in infusion technology, has developed a response to this demand.
How does a hyperbaric chamber affect the operation of an infusion pump?
The vast majority of infusion pumps on the market are not prepared to function correctly under the high pressures used in hyperbaric chambers. This might jeopardize the patient who is receiving intravenous medication. Compression and decompression phases can affect the operation of a conventional pump, producing unwanted changes in the volumes infused or even the complete stoppage of the infusion.
These changes in volume can have particularly serious consequences in the case of critical patients with haemodynamic instability who are receiving vasodilator drugs or sedatives.
At arcomed we have developed a pump specifically designed to withstand hyperbaric environments assuring no rate or infused volume change and no unexpected stoppages or errors. This guarantees the safety of patients and provides a greater quality of care.
These pumps benefit from all of the adaptability, flexibility, innovative software and ease of transportation and operation that characterise the entire arcomed product range.