Contraindications are any condition or factor that may increase the risk of a medical procedure. There are both absolute and relative contraindications associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy that must be taken into consideration before beginning treatment.


(These are conditions that makes a treatment or therapy too risky to perform.)
The only absolute contraindication of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an untreated pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is a condition where air or gas is trapped in the chest cavity. If a person undergoes HBOT, further damage to the lungs can occur and create a life threatening condition. A chest tube must be put in place before entering the chamber.
Patients should not have hyperbaric oxygen therapy if they are currently or recently taken any of the following medications.

  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) – cardiotoxity may occur.
  • Cisplatinum – wound healing may be impaired.
  • Disulfiram (antabuse) – blocks the production of suproxide dismutase, which protects against oxygen toxicity.
  • Mafenide acetate (Sulfamylon) – wounds healing may be impaired.

(A patient has a higher risk of complications but might still be able to receive treatment.)

  • Active cancerous condition – Cancer tends to thrive in conditions with high blood flow, and increased oxygen and can accelerate the rate of tumor growth. However an anti-angiogenic can provide the solution.
  • Asthma – It could result in a pneumothorax.
  • Chronic sinusitis – It could lead to possible barotrrauma.
  • Congenital spherocytosis –Haemolysis might occur due to fragile red blood cells.
  • Claustrophobia – It might lead to increased anxiety.
  • Emphysema with CO2 retention – It might present a risk of pneumothorax.
  • High Fever –It could lower the threshold for seizures; temperature should be lowered before attempting therapy.
  • History of ear surgery –Patient might not be able to clear their ears and increase the risk of trauma to the ear with forced clearing. An ENT might need to be consulted.
  • History of seizures – It lowers the threshold for seizures. An increase in medication might be recommended.
  • Optic Neuritis – Rare cases of worsening vision and blindness have occurred.
  • Pacemaker – There is a possibly of malfunction of the device.
  • Pregnancy –It is unknown if any stress is caused to the fetus.
  • Thorax surgery – There is a small risk of air trapped in scarring caused during surgery.
  • Upper respiratory infections – Patients might have trouble clearing their ears that result in trauma to the ear.
  • Viral infections – They might worsen after HBOT; however, there is no conclusive evidence to support this theory.