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Hyperbaric medicine

Published on 21 April 2022

The hyperbaric medicine unit provides treatment and advice for diving-related illness (known as “the bends”). It uses recompression/decompression therapy.

The unit is situated within Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. There are also two other centres based in Oban and Stromness, on Orkney, that provide advice and care.

What is hyperbaric medicine?

Hyperbaric medicine includes hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which is the medical use of oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure to increase the availability of oxygen in the body. Therapeutic recompression is another alternative. This involves increasing the ambient pressure on a person to treat decompression sickness or an air embolism by eliminating bubbles that have formed within the body. The recompression chamber is also used to treat diving-related cases of carbon monoxide poisoning and air/gas embolism.

The purpose of the unit is to respond to calls for advice. These might come from recreational divers, diving organisations, medical staff in general practice, hospital services and emergency services – in particular the coastguard.

The service is available 24 hours a day, for 7 days a week.

Further information is also available on the hyperbaric medicine website.

Lead clinician

Dr Ruth Stephenson, Clinical Lead for NHS Grampian Hyperbaric Medical Unit


Hyperbaric Medicine Unit
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
AB25 2ZN

NSD contact

NSD Specialist Services

Please note that NSD does not directly provide medical services and we won't be able to answer queries about your own care or appointments. If you would like to discuss any aspects of your care, please contact your primary healthcare provider. This might be your GP, Consultant, Nurse or other healthcare professional. They will be best placed to give you the right advice.