Hyperbaric chambers are pressurized environments used to treat a variety of conditions such as non-healing wounds, decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning and infections. Patients receiving such hyperbaric oxygen therapy also need to be treated and monitored by a variety of medical devices; most of which, however, were not originally designed or approved for use in such hyperbaric environments.

Dr. Larry Fennigkoh ’74, ’86, MSOE biomedical engineering professor, has been working with Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center on the evaluation, modification and design of medical devices that can be used safely in hyperbaric chambers. Recognizing the need to give students access to the same equipment and technology, Fennigkoh helped secure the donation of a hyperbaric chamber from Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. With a chamber on campus, he can now increase the level of research and also involve students.

“The hyperbaric chamber is a fabulous teaching platform for actually observing the basic gas laws in action as well as evaluating high pressure effects on electronic medical devices,” said Fennigkoh. He plans to further instrument and modify the chamber this summer. “And no, we won’t be putting students in the chamber!”