Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is known to accelerate the healing process by delivering concentrated oxygen throughout the body. When it comes to wound treatment, traditional wound dressings and clinic visits often become expensive over time and results in delayed healing. Oxygen therapy can assist in stimulating faster wound repair by promoting cell growth within the body.

What Are Chronic Wounds

Normally, wounds should heal within one to three months. Chronic wounds take longer than three months to heal and are unresponsive to traditional antibiotics and wound treatments. During the wound healing process, chronic wounds would remain in one of the healing stages without completing the healing process. Below are some of the chronic wounds that could benefit the most from oxygen therapy:

    • Diabetic Lower Extremity Wounds

      Diabetics are generally prone to neuropathy which prevents nociception. This means that wounds may take longer to be noticed due to the lack of pain. Over time, repeated infections damage blood vessels and restrict oxygenation of tissue, which can be restored with HBOT.

    • Chronic Refractory Osteomyelitis

      A bone infection which continues to reoccur after initial treatment. Restricted blood flow to the infected area remains the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to heal the bone properly.

 

    • Osteoradionecrosis

      Occurs due to high dose exposure to radiation, specifically to the jaw. Radiation affects the bones ability to receive sufficient blood supply.

    • Crush Injury

      An injury which is caused by a force, compressing the body.

    • Gas Gangrene

      A bacterial infection which affects muscle tissue and causes inflammation below the skin.

    • Skin Grafts

      Often used as a reconstructive process of replacing damaged skin, which will not regenerate on its own, with healthy skin. In some cases, skin grafts may encounter infections with fluid buildup. HBOT assists in repairing compromised skin grafts.

    • Venous and Arterial

      Often found in leg ulcers, venous hypertension results in poor valve function within veins and causes restricted blood circulation within the leg. Poor circulation coupled with reperfusion injury results in damaged tissue. This type of wound accounts for more than 70% of chronic wounds.

  • Pressure Ulcers

    This is often found caused by pressure of the tissue outweighing pressure in the capillaries, which results in loss of blood flow.

The Wound Healing Process

Chronic wounds often remain in a specific stage of wound healing. There are four stages to wound healing, namely:

    1. Hemostasis

      First, blood clotting takes place to restrict further blood loss and allow platelets to form in order to seal the broken vessel walls.

    1. Inflammatory

      Swelling around the wound area indicates the second phase of the wound healing process. Inflammation assists in mitigating bleeding and limiting infection. Chronic wounds often do not progress pass this healing stage.

    1. Proliferative

      Tissue is renewed along with new blood vessels which assist in healthy granulation.

  1. Maturation

    The wound closes with the remodeling of collagen growth.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Assists Chronic Wound Healing

Oxygen therapy, which is administered within a monoplace or multiplace chamber, delivers pressured pure oxygen to the blood stream. The oxygen travels within the blood vessels to activate immune cells and moderate inflammatory and bacterial peacekeepers. By affecting the change in cell proliferation, pressurized oxygen supports tissue regeneration and minimizes the risk of clotting. The decreases in tissue edema and increase in collagen growth, ensures healthy skin growth (to close the open wound faster).

Oxygen treatment also assists in eradicating anaerobic bacteria and enhancing new blood cells. Treatment time could range from 1 hour to 2 hours and is split between stages. The first stage is reaching the optimal pressure level. This is followed by the treatment time and last stage of returning the patient to normal oxygen pressure. There are possible side effects that a patient may experience during therapy, the most common being ear popping due to the oxygen pressure.

Hyperbaric oxygen has proven to aid the healing process of wound treatment, in combination with traditional treatment. Expanding your hospitals offering to include a comprehensive wound treatment center, which can enhance the services offered and improve patient care.