Methodist Hospital for Surgery recently announced the installation of two new hyperbaric oxygen chambers inside the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics — a 2015 specialty addition to the hospital campus. The unique center provides specialized treatment for chronic or nonhealing wounds using clinically proven methods, protocols, and technologies that facilitate the body’s innate ability to heal.
Inside the hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) chamber, patients breathe 100% oxygen in a pressurized environment, which stimulates new blood vessel growth allowing plasma in the blood to carry oxygen, reduce swelling, inactivate toxins of certain bacteria, and enhance white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria. HBO therapy has been proven effective in treating diabetic ulcers, arterial insufficiency, crush injury, adverse effects of radiation therapy, and compromised grafts and flaps.
Chronic wounds affect more than 8 million people in the U.S., and a continued rise in cases is fueled by an aging population and increasing rates of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and the late effects of radiation therapy. Diabetes-related wounds are among those more commonly treated at the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics; these wounds and their associated amputations are associated with a high mortality rate. The mortality rates five years post-amputation are over 60 percent — more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Hodgkins Disease combined.
According to The American Diabetes Association, the management of diabetic foot ulcers — and similar wounds — requires a multidisciplinary approach. An aggressive, multidisciplinary approach is proven to heal diabetic foot ulcers quickly, thereby reducing the incident of amputations and recurrent ulcerations, which reduces the cost burden to people with diabetes and their families.
Medical Director J.R. Williams II, M.D., leads a team of wound care specialists at the center where hyperbaric medicine therapy is just one of the many state-ofthe- art treatment options available; other treatments include negative pressure therapies, bioengineered tissues, and biosynthetics. Once a patient’s chronic wound is healed, he or she continues nonwound related care with a primary physician.
“When a patient lives with a non-healing wound for four or more weeks, many times the body needs help from evidence-based research and advanced treatment to achieve healing,” said Dr. Williams. “Our treatment options, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, will help those currently living with non-healing wounds.”