What is the difference between hard-sided hyperbaric oxygen chambers and inflatable hyperbaric chambers?
The question about the difference between hard-sided medical grade hyperbaric oxygen chambers and inflatable hyperbaric chambers (also called inflatable or mild/soft hyperbaric chambers) is a commonly asked question. At Classic Hyperbarics we build medical-grade hard-sided ETC (also referred to as mono or dual person chambers; we offer both). Many have reported that inflatable hyperbaric chambers have not been an effective treatment modality. The UHMS Safety Committee published this Special Report:
Let’s examine the reasons why you don’t want to use inflatable bags and why they are called “hyperbaric chambers” in contrast to hyperbaric oxygen chambers:
- Our medical-grade hard chambers can deliver up to 9 times more oxygen (medicine) than a soft chamber. A simple oxygen mask hooked up to an oxygen tank can deliver more oxygen than a soft chamber. See “Explaining the Math for Hyperbaric Oxygen” by Dr. Caroline Fife (published Feb 6, 2018, in Hyperbaric Medicine / Today’s Wound Clinic and associated table.
- All valid scientific studies demonstrating the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy were performed at pressures higher than those able to be achieved in a soft chamber. You can’t extrapolate those benefits at the much lower pressures generated from soft chambers.
- The FDA does not recognize soft chambers as a medical device for hyperbaric oxygen treatment and you will not find them in any reputable hospital or medical office. The FDA only recognizes soft chambers as a device used to treat altitude sickness during transport to a definitive medical facility.
- Scientific literature shows that oxygen becomes bacteriostatic (the biological or chemical agent that prevents bacteria from reproducing) at 1.5 ATA. Since soft chambers can only produce 1.3ATA they not only can’t prevent bacteria from growing, but they can also actually enhance the growth of some molds, fungus, and aerobic bacteria.