Patients with stubborn wounds can now benefit from the same oxygen therapy that helps deep-sea divers recover from decompression sickness and professional athletes recover from injuries.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a new wound care option available now at Edward Hospital. This type of therapy helps the body's natural ability to heal by delivering oxygen quickly and in high concentrations to injured areas.
Conditions approved for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wound care include:
Acute carbon monoxide poisoning
SERVICE: HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia. HBO therapy is a valuable adjunctive treatment to be used in combination with accepted standard therapeutic measures when loss of function, limb, or life is threatened.
Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs. As in the previous conditions, HBO therapy would be an adjunctive treatment when loss of function, limb, or life is threatened.
Preparation and preservation of compromised skin grafts (not for primary management of wounds)Chronic refractory osteomyelitis, unresponsive to conventional medical and surgical management
Osteoradionecrosis as an adjunct to conventional treatmentSoft tissue radionecrosis as an adjunct to conventional treatment
Actinomycosis, only as an adjunct to conventional therapy when the disease process is refractory to antibiotics and surgical treatment
Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities in patients who meet the following three criteria:
Patient has type I or type II diabetes and has a lower extremity wound that is due to diabetes;Patient has a wound classified as Wagner grade III or higher; andPatient has failed an adequate course of standard wound therapy.
During therapy, the patient is sealed into a clear tube for about two hours while breathing 100% oxygen. The air inside the tube is pressurized to greater than two atmosphere, or about 66 feet below sea level. About every half an hour, the patient takes five- to 10-minute " air break" and breaths room air through a breathing mask.
The patient sits or lies down on a stretcher inside the clear, cylindrical chamber. Then the door is sealed. Inside the chamber, the patient can watch TV or movies, listen to music or just relax.
Each treatment session lasts about two hours, and typically therapy takes place five days a week for five to six weeks.
Watch this video from Naperville Community Televsion (NCTV).
Frequently asked questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
Q. What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
A. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is defined as breathing 100% oxygen while in an enclosed system pressurized to greater than two atmosphere (sea level).
Q. How does HBOT enhance wound healing?
A. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy delivers oxygen quickly and in high concentrations to injured areas. The increased pressure changes the normal cellular respiration process and causes oxygen to dissolve in the plasma. This results in a substantial increase in tissue oxygenation. HBOT is beneficial because it stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and increases oxygenation that can arrest certain types of infections and enhance wound healing.
Q. Who qualifies for HBOT?
A. Patients must go through at least 30 days of conventional wound treatment before trying this therapy. They also must have enough blood flow to the wound area to make HBOT viable. In the United States, almost all health care plans reimburse HBOT treatments for conditions listed above.
Q. How often is HBOT administered?
A. Although treatment schedules will vary, most treatments will be administered during two-hour sessions, several times a week. Acute conditions may require a treatment period of 10 days or less, while chronic conditions may require therapy over a few weeks. The average patient will receive 25 to 30 treatments over five to six weeks.
Q. What does a patient experience during treatment?
A. The first stage of treatment is compression, in which the pressure inside the system is gradually increased. The temperature will rise and later be adjusted to a comfortable level. The patient will feel fullness in the ears. Instruction is provided to help clear the pressure and relieve temporary discomfort. Inside the chamber, the patient can watch TV or movies, listen to music or just relax. The patient will take short " air breaks" through a breathing mask about every 30 minutes. They also can speak with the hyperbaric oxygen therapy technician through a speaker in the chamber.
Q. Will insurance cover HBOT?
A. Almost all health care plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, reimburse for HBOT treatments performed on currently accepted disorders.
Sources: Perry Baromedical, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services