Certain types of wounds, especially in the lower extremities often fail to respond to normal medical treatments. Wounds that are caused by the loss of the microvascular bed, such as diabetic foot wounds, do not get adequate oxygen or the other blood factors necessary for healing to occur.
If surgery is necessary to the affected area your wound may not heal. Oxygen delivered at hyperbaric pressures has been proven to produce new blood vessels in deficient areas and stimulate wound healing. This results in a long-term improvement in the quality of the tissue.
Wounds caused by other disease processes may not be helped by hyperbaric oxygen. Patients with severe peripheral vascular disease will not benefit.
Patients who have undergone Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for these types of wounds have shown favorable results. They are more likely to heal and less likely to lose a limb to amputation. In one study, 16 of 18 patients healed their wounds after receiving a course of hyperbaric therapy, while only one of 10 healed in another group that did not get hyperbaric therapy. Appropriate wound care, edema control, proper diet, abstinence from smoking will also improve chances of success.
How it all works
The air we breathe contains 21 percent oxygen. This can be increased to 100 percent if we breathe oxygen via a mask or hood (personalized oxygen tent surrounding your head). The body’s oxygen supply can be increased by a further two or three times by entering a hyperbaric chamber and receiving 100 percent oxygen at increased pressure. Oxygen delivered in this manner can be ‘dissolved’ into the blood stream and body tissues at a far greater rate by using pressure. The oxygen will be administered to you as a series of treatments and for permanent effects the entire series of treatments must be completed. These treatments take about two hours and are delivered daily.
The benefits to you include
- Increasing oxygen helps tiny new blood vessels to grow in all the affected tissues. As more blood vessels grow, more oxygen rich blood can reach the wound.
- Decreased swelling (edema) around the wound. Decreasing the swelling allows the blood to flow more freely to the area bringing with it oxygen.
- High oxygen levels increase the ability of the ‘infection fighting’ cells (white blood cells) to kill any offending bacteria that may be in the area. By ‘cleaning up’ this site, healing has a better chance of occurring.