Treating Diabetic Foot Wounds with HBOT: What You Need to Know In 2023

Treating Diabetic Foot Wounds with HBOT

According to the latest statistics from the National Institutes of Health, it’s estimated that over 150,000 people will undergo lower extremity amputations in 2023. 

And the vast majority of those amputations, including those of the feet and toes, will have an etiology that includes chronic diabetic foot ulcers.

At CūtisCare, we’ve seen the life-changing power of HBOT as an essential non-invasive treatment in a comprehensive wound care plan. And our goal is to improve the lives of patients with diabetic foot wounds and decrease the number of amputations, one patient at a time.

In this post, we’ll discuss the most common causes of diabetic foot wounds, how HBOT can be used to treat them, and why it’s becoming a therapy of choice for physicians and wound care teams. 

Then we’ll close with how we’re helping hospitals and clinics of all scopes and sizes bring HBOT capabilities into their facilities.  

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Chronic Diabetic Foot Wounds?

Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of non-traumatic foot wounds by far. Diabetes is present in over 80% of lower extremity amputations in the U.S. every year. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provided some excellent insights on the pathologies involved in a recent article: 

The diabetic foot is a major public health problem. Two overwhelming pathologies come together in the diabetic foot: neuropathy and ischemia, which result in the characteristic features of foot ulceration (neuropathic and ischaemic) and Charcot neuroarthropathy, both of which can be complicated by infection, and ultimately may result in amputation (minor or major) and increased mortality.

Ischemia, or significantly reduced blood flow to wounds in the lower extremities, is often a direct result of peripheral artery disease, PAD, which is exacerbated by diabetes. 

Diabetic neuropathy, or severe nerve damage caused by diabetes, causes loss of protective pain sensation in foot ulcers which can lead to non-healing wounds and, ultimately, amputations. 

Diabetes also adversely affects the lining around the cells in blood vessels, making them more brittle and acting as a catalyst for accelerating PAD.

The net result is that the coincident adverse effects of diabetes, neuropathy, and PAD often causes chronic foot ulceration. Reduced blood and oxygen flow to foot wounds also makes the chances of severe infection much more likely. 

The convergence of these conditions can be devastating for diabetic patients and ultimately lead to lower extremity amputation without early treatment.

How Does HBOT Work In The Treatment Of Non-Healing Foot Wounds?

The foundational challenge with diabetic foot wounds and subsequent disease progression is a lack of sufficient blood flow and oxygen to the wound site. 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy addresses this fundamental issue by delivering a substantially increased amount of oxygen dissolved in plasma to the wound. 

HBOT involves breathing highly concentrated oxygen in a pressurized chamber. These chambers can produce oxygen partial pressures in plasma of up to 20 times higher than those achieved by breathing pure oxygen at atmospheric pressures.

This oxygen-rich plasma can now be delivered in the bloodstream to the hypoxic or ischemic tissue. The oxygen-rich plasma then promotes healing by fighting infection and bacteria, increasing angiogenesis, stimulating the immune system, and stimulating the release of growth factors and stem cells. 

Why Is HBOT Emerging As The Go-To Therapy For Diabetic Foot Wounds?

HBOT is the most effective non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical, CMS-approved treatment for chronic diabetic foot wounds when used as an adjunct therapy in a comprehensive wound care plan.

With HBOT, surgeries, medications, and amputations are no longer the first options for patients with non-healing foot wounds. 

These are just a few of the life-changing patient outcomes that our clients are providing in their wound care centers of excellence:

  • HBOT accelerates the healing process by substantially increasing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, promoting wound healing and the growth of new blood vessels
  • HBOT helps reduce the risk of infection by increasing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms
  • HBOT helps promote healing and reduces amputations by improving circulation and oxygen at the wound site
  • HBOT is a non-invasive option that can augment or reduce the necessity of surgery and medications, making it a safe and effective option for patients who may not be candidates for these types of treatments

Where Can You Go To Find Out How You Can Bring HBOT Into Your Healthcare Organization?  

Are you interested in bringing the most advanced, CMS-approved, non-invasive wound care treatment available to your hospital, practice, or clinic?

Or maybe you’re considering becoming a wound care center of excellence in your community or adding HBOT to your existing wound care treatment program.

Either way, we’d love to share our 25 years of knowledge and experience with you. Get in touch with one of our HBOT thought leaders today.