Contraindications include:

  • Untreated pneumothorax (collapsed lung), unless it can be surgically relieved before decompression is carried out.
  • Congenital spherocytosis (a disorder of the surface membrane and shape of red blood cells, which leads to premature breakdown of red blood cells [hemolytic anemia] and is caused by a defective gene. 29 Its incidence has been reported in people of Northern European descent. However, it has been reported in all races.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) used in the treatment of alcoholism
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) (a chemotherapy drug)
  • Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug
  • Mafenide Acetate (Sulfamylon) (which suppresses bacterial infections in burn wounds)
  • Bleomycin sulphate, a chemotherapeutic agent, has been associated with pulmonary oxygen toxicity.  Fibrosis may progress to irreversible respiratory failure if HBOT is administered after treatment with this drug.

It was once thought that pregnancy was a contraindication.  But there is evidence that no complications have ensued.  In fact, in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning it is essential that pregnant women need to undergo more HBOT to protect their fetus from the effects of poisoning.  The fetus is more sensitive to CO poisoning.