Tuesday, July 8, 2008

DAY 6 OF TREATMENT - JULY 8TH - The Oxygen Continues ...

OK GUYS, I have the information I promised you regarding the differences between the HARD-SDIED HYPERBARIC CHAMBERS used in most hospitals and clinics and the SOFT-SIDED CHAMBERS that many have seen advertised on TV and elsewhere. 

There are many differences and some of them are significant, others concern severe safety issues, and still others deal with the effectiveness of the different units. 

I have added a new article to the American RSDHope website regarding this issue specifically with a lot of help from a wonderful website put together by Healing Chambers International (see link below).

Some of the quotes from the article include;

1) Soft-sided chambers do not provide the same benefit as hard-sided chambers.

2) Soft-sided chambers cannot re-grow bone and tissue in severely damaged areas of the body, whereas hard-sided chambers can. 

3) Treatment provided in a hard-sided chamber is supported by thousands of clinical studies which validate healing; soft-sided chambers cannot provide the same validation. 

4) Hard-sided chambers are designed to go to pressures that heal. Soft-sided chambers are designed to treat divers and mountain climbers en route to a hard-sided chamber. 

5) Hard-sided chambers kill bacteria, soft-sided promote bacteria growth. 

There is a great deal more information regarding where and how the soft-sided chambers are allowed and supposed to be sold, and what for. There is also extensive information regarding the differences in pressures as well as some pictures and graphs that are very informative. 

I was floored by the differences in cost, the cost of being treated at a clinic or hospital that uses the hard-sided units is sometimes covered by insurance, although not currently for CRPS in all places. There have been a few patients I have talked to who were able to talk their insurance carrier into it and we listed an article where a company was forced to pay for it. But for many other diseases/ailments it is covered. 

Not so for the soft-sided chambers, there can even be serious consequences involved as noted in the article regarding that. 

It is a fabulous article and I strongly encourage you to read it. The safety issues were of particular interest to me, besides of course the facts regarding what it could or could not heal. If the soft-sided units cannot even descend to standard treatment depth for diseases such as ours, and most others, why even consider it? 

I am not saying there are no benefits at all from them. I have heard from some people who say they have been helped by the. It just doesn't seem, from this article and others, that the evidence backs up is there to substantiate such claims. I leave these things to the experts though. I am just providing the information for you to decide for yourself. 
You can read the article by visiting the American RSDHope website and going to HYPERBARIC OXYGEN CHAMBERS - HARD SIDE OR SOFT-SIDE? 

If you would like to visit the website where the original article came from and where you can find more information, visit - 

HEALING CHAMBERS INTERNATIONAL - page of the Healing Chambers website that discusses the differences between the two types of chambers. 

BTW, someone wrote to me and asked my if HBO is approved by the FDA for treating CRPS how can it not be covered by insurance? Isn't it the same thing?

Great question. 

It is the same as with other treatments such as the low-dose ketamine infusion. It has received FDA approval but isn't covered by insurance. basically this means that the FDA has decided the procedure is safe and that it is effective for the disease specified. It is then up to the insurance companies whether or not to approve the treatment for payment. There is often a lag between the two unfortunately. 

I often wish that whoever decides these things could just sit down with patients like us, maybe spend a week living with us, learning what we deal with every day and then watch us go through such a procedure and see the difference it makes in our lives. Then compare the cost of the procedure versus the years on end cost of medications, therapy, etc. coupled with the agony of our daily lives. If the first point doesn't convince them maybe the second point will. 

If only ... 

That wish comes right after my wish for a machine that allows patient's to "plug" their Doctors into their bodies when they walk into their offices when they come in for their appointment. To allow the Dr to truly "feel" the patient's pain. How many of them do you think would refuse the pain prescriptions then? After they picked themselves off the floor and pulled themselves together of course. My guess is you would see a 90% drop in the "it's all in your head" diagnosis. Instead it would be "Holy cow! How do you live with that everyday?!"

Today was another good day in the chamber for me. We zipped down to 45 feet, it has gotten so easy for me. The first few days I had to do a lot of the "holding my nose and puffing out my cheeks" thing as I descended to the treatment depth. Now, it only takes me a few of them. I guess that is what happens to everyone. I could probably go diving, when I am done with this, for real. I would have to learn a lot I am sure about the various instrumentality but I would have learned part of it with the pressure. 

I wonder if divers benefit from breathing oxygen under pressure when they dive?  
I will find out and get back to me.

On another and last note. I have made sure to eat apple slices right after getting out of the chamber this week and have not had a headache! As I discussed yesterday, food makes a huge difference in our disease and especially when we are undergoing a treatment, and even more so a treatment that wipes you out. 

Take care guys, see you tomorrow.

Peace, Keith 

1 comment:

Bob Grosh said...

Hey Keith -

Glad to hear the treatment is going well for you. One comment on the insurance issue -- I got my insurance company to pay for my HBOT treatments by having my Dr. write the diagnosis as PVI (peripheral vascular insufficiency).... actually his idea. If you think about it, this seems legitimate because vascular insufficiency is a primary symptom of RSD in the affected areas, and HBOT is specifically prescribed with RSD to counteract these effects of poor/inadequate circulation. With RSD we are treating the myriad symptoms, not necessarily the whole disease at once, so I think this MAY be a legitimate way around the insurance issue. Of course I am not qualified to draw the appropriate medical conclusions, but it might be worth running by your Doc.

Warm regards,

Bob Grosh