1054.1 - Review of Interim Funded Service: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT)

Page last updated: 18 July 2016

Application Detail



Description of Medical Service

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) involves placing the patient in a compression chamber, increasing the pressure within the chamber, and administering 100% oxygen for breathing. In this way, it is possible to deliver a greatly increased pressure of oxygen to the patient’s body tissues. The pressure of oxygen delivered to the patient is increased by 12 to 15 fold and oxygen is able to diffuse further into the diseased tissue. Healing is assisted by providing sufficient oxygen at a cellular level to restore normal function. This reduces swelling and also inhibits some bacteria that would otherwise thrive in a low oxygen environment. Treatments are delivered once or twice daily and typically last between 60 and 120 minutes. A typical course might involve 20 to 30 treatments, in order to heal long standing wounds or radiation injuries.

Description of Medical Condition

(1) Late Soft Tissue Radiation Injury
Late soft tissue radiation injury is a complication experienced by a minority of individuals who successfully recover from radiation treatment for cancer. It occurs when healthy adjacent tissue is damaged in the process of treating cancer with radiotherapy. The damage to healthy tissue may not become apparent for months or years after treatment. Radiotherapy technology and techniques are rapidly advancing and side effects are becoming fewer. Examples of the impact on affected individuals include: ulceration in the mouth, impairment of speech, skin ulceration with persistent non-healing painful wounds and infections in body regions that have received radiotherapy, bleeding from the bladder or bowel, or incontinence. Life-threatening infections may also result from untreated bladder or bowel radiation injury. There are limited treatment options available for this condition, and the evidence supporting all treatments is also limited.

(2) Chronic Refractory Skin Ulcers and Wounds
Chronic or refractory problem wounds are skin ulcers and wounds that persist longer than 3 months and do not respond to standard treatment. The wounds require visits to health facilities or home care visits by community healthcare workers for months or years. Complications are frequent and may require admission to hospital. The true incidence, impact and cost are difficult to assess accurately given the wide range of disease, lack of high quality scientific studies of treatments. Approximately 1% of the population of industrialised countries will experience a chronic leg wound at some time, while the prevalence in hospital patients has been estimated at 24%. Many of these wounds are associated with circulatory disorders and lack of oxygen can be a contributing factor.

Reason for Application


Medical Service Type


Previous Application Number


Associated Documentation

Application Form


PICO Confirmation


Assessment Report

Assessment Report (PDF 4069 KB)
Dissenting Report to Assessment Report 1054.1 - HBOT for MSAC consideration (PDF 356 KB)

Public Summary Document

Public Summary Document (PDF 276 KB)
NHMRC Review (PDF 7983 KB)

MSAC consideration 2 August 2012
Public Summary Document (PDF 55 KB)
Public Summary Document (Word 675 KB)
Minutes of 2 August 2012 consideration by MSAC (PDF 20 KB)

Meetings for this Application




12 - 13 October 2011


29 November 2011
2 August 2012