July 19, 2006
We need oxygen to survive, but inhaling it in it's purest form may have health benefits and healing that you can see right before your eyes.
It's a procedure that has patients breathing pure oxygen for an extended period of time and wounds actually heal right before your eyes.
Hilda Higgs had breast cancer in the mid 80s and is now cancer free. Unfortunately, not long ago she had a wound appear in the same spot, which stayed open for months
"I had to be careful and change the dressing and everything. It was just something that I wasn't used to doing," said Higgs.
Thirty treatments later and one more procedure she was healed.
"Oh it was wonderful," Higgs said. "I had a lot of little veins that were just sort of red there. Well that started pinking up and going away and it looks much better. The whole area looks much better."
Higgs underwent Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The patient enters a chamber and breathes 100 percent oxygen under pressure for 90 minutes.
"When you breath pure oxygen your red blood cells are suffused with it and because you are under pressure, that damaged tissue has an easier time picking up the oxygen to start the healing," said nurse Roberta Lawrence.
Patients have the procedure once a day. Anywhere from a few treatments to 60. You can see a difference within minutes.
"I've seen graphs go in and be purple at the start of the treatment and be pink at the end of it," said Lawrence.
As for side effects, some experience ear pressure. In extreme circumstances there is also a possibility that your lung could burst, but UVa nurses say they've never seen anything like that actually happen.
People of all ages can undergo the procedure. At UVa they've had someone as old as 80 and as young as two.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.