HCMC’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine opens in June

HCMC will open the new Center for Hyperbaric Medicine, which includes a 60-ton hyperbaric chamber, on hospital’s main campus in downtown Minneapolis in mid-June. The 48-foot long chamber, which arrived in sections last November, replaces the current 49-year-old hyperbaric chamber located two blocks away.

HCMC will continue to have the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the region that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients: usually victims of carbon monoxide exposure or life-threatening infections, but also cerebral gas embolism and decompression sickness (“the bends”).

“This new facility is one of the most thoughtfully designed multiplace chamber ensembles in the world for delivering critical care,” says Dr. Cheryl Adkinson, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. “From monitoring to communication, environmental control, and gas delivery systems – the arrangement and the individual capabilities of the three connecting chambers will provide maximum flexibility to simultaneously manage multiple combinations of critically ill and stable, scheduled patients.”

In addition to being a life-saving emergency treatment for some conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used to treat radiation injuries, diabetic ulcers, and other chronic wounds.

“As our population ages and becomes more obese,  more and more people are suffering from diabetes and chronic diabetic foot ulcers” explains Dr. Adkinson. “Diabetes damages blood vessels, leading to low tissue oxygen levels and poor healing; however, by delivering high levels of oxygen to tissues of the body, many of these wounds can heal, preventing the painful and life-changing complications of amputation.”

The $10.9 million project was paid for by a combination of county, state, federal and hospital funding sources.  It included construction of a 10,278-square foot addition to the hospital’s main campus on 7th Street in Minneapolis. Patients from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Western Wisconsin and the Canadian border are referred to HCMC for hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The facility has three multiple-person chambers as well as a single monoplace chamber.

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HCMC is a leader in trauma and critical care medicine. The Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center opened a completely renovated Burn Center last fall, one of only two critical care burn centers in Minnesota verified by the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).  Over the past five years, all adult intensive care units have been relocated and renovated within the downtown facility and this year the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be renovated.

More information about the construction of the new hyperbaric chamber facility 

Going to a “dive” on St. Patty’s Day?

“Lucky” winner will dine in Hennepin County Medical Center’s hyperbaric chamber

“Dinner in the Hyperbaric Chamber” was put up as a silent auction item at HCMC’s Light Up the Night gala last December, benefiting HCMC’s education and training mission. The lucky winner of the auction item was an HCMC ophthalmologist who will share the prize with his wife and four other guests on Saturday, March 17 at 6:15 p.m.  It is a fun coincidence that the event is occurring on St. Patrick’s Day.

Patients “dive” at various atmospheres in the hyperbaric chamber to treat critical medical conditions such as gas gangrene, carbon monoxide poisoning, air embolism due to diving, trauma, or surgical procedures, and decompression sickness. It is also an important adjunct for specific wound healing conditions.

HCMC’s hyperbaric chamber is located at 619 S. 5th St. in Minneapolis. A new hyperbaric chamber is in the final stages of construction and will open in the next few months on the HCMC campus.