Staffing and training issues in critical care hyperbaric medicine

Diving Hyperb Med. 2015 Mar;45(1):47-50.


The integrated chain of treatment of the most severe clinical cases that require hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) assumes that intensive care is continued while inside the hyperbaric chamber. Such an approach needs to take into account all the risks associated with transportation of the critically ill patient from the ICU to the chamber and back, changing of ventilator circuits and intravascular lines, using different medical devices in a hyperbaric environment, advanced invasive physiological monitoring as well as medical procedures (infusions, drainage, etc) during long or frequently repeated HBOT sessions. Any medical staff who take care of critically ill patients during HBOT should be certified and trained according to both emergency/intensive care and hyperbaric requirements. For any HBOT session, the number of staff needed for any HBOT session depends on both the type of chamber and the patient's status--stable, demanding or critically ill. For a critically ill patient, the standard procedure is a one-to-one patient-staff ratio inside the chamber; however, the final decision whether this is enough is taken after careful risk assessment based on the patient's condition, clinical indication for HBOT, experience of the personnel involved in that treatment and the available equipment.

Keywords: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment; education; intensive care medicine; qualifications; review article; safety; training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Certification
  • Critical Care / organization & administration*
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / standards*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Patient Transfer / organization & administration*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Ventilators, Mechanical