Hy­per­baric oxy­gen cham­ber helps heal wounds

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

Holy Redeemer Hospi­tal is tak­ing wound care to a new level by bring­ing the ul­ti­mate — at least for some — healer in­side its walls.

Two hy­per­baric oxy­gen cham­bers now sit in­side the Meadowbrook hospi­tal’s :RunG CaUH CHnWHU. ,nau­gu­rated in Oc­to­ber of last year, the cham­bers can each ac­com­mo­date up to four pa­tients a day, ac­cord­ing to Jim Arm­strong, the RN and safety di­rec­tor who over­sees the de­vices.

The treat­ment, which in­volves breath­ing pure oxy­gen in a pres­sur­ized room, is be­ing used for wounds that have not healed as a re­sult of di­a­betes or ra­di­a­tion treat­ment.

“,W’s nRW fRU aOO wRunGs,” Holy Redeemer Wound Care CHnWHU DLUHFWRU :LOOLaP LRu[ saLG. ,W’s fRU wRunGs re­sult­ing from tis­sue dam­age caused by a lack of blood flRw, suFK as an HPEROLsP EORFNLnJ WKH flRw Rf EORRG to a toe, or tis­sue dam­aged dur­ing ra­di­a­tion ex­po­sure, such as a can­cer treat­ment, he said.

“The wounds are painful and could be life-al­ter­ing,” he said.

One com­mon rea­son to use hy­per­baric ther­apy is when a pa­tient has surgery on the neck and “some­times they need ra­di­a­tion ther­apy and may lose the abil­ity to spit, or get ul­cers around WKHLU JuPs,” saLG DU. 3aWULFN Pel­lec­chia, med­i­cal ad­viser fRU WKH wRunG FaUH FHnWHU. ,f such a pa­tient needed to have a tooth re­moved, hy­per­baric ther­apy would be pre­scribed be­fore­hand “or it [the gum] would never heal.”

About 20 per­cent to 30 per­cent of those us­ing the hy­per­baric cham­ber have foot ul­cers from di­a­betes, Pel­lec­chia said. The wound goes into the ten­don or bone and can cause an in­fec­tion.

For some “part of a toe or a toe dies,” he said. “We had three peo­ple in the past three to four months where all three would have been re­ferred for am­pu­ta­tion,” he said. With hy­per­baric oxy­gen ther­apy, some­times tiny blood ves­sels will grow, UHnHwLnJ EORRG flRw, sR WKH pa­tient will not re­quire am­pu­ta­tion.

With the hy­per­baric oxy­gen cham­ber, the pa­tient lies down and is slid into the trans­par­ent, 35-inch in di­am­e­ter cham­ber, Loux said. DuULnJ WKH WwR-KRuU WUHaW­ment, pa­tients can watch a 79 PRunWHG aERYH.

The num­ber of treat­ments re­quired varies, ac­cord­ing to Pel­lec­chia. For a dental prob­lem it’s gen­er­ally 10 be­fore the ex­trac­tion and 10 af­ter; a di­a­betic ul­cer and wounds caused by other ob­struc­tions to blood ves­sels would re­quire 30 to 60 treat­ments, he said.

The treat­ments are cu­mu­la­tive, so “the best out­come” is achieved when the SaWLHnWs FRPHs fiYH Gays a week, Loux said.

The dif­fer­ence in oxy­gen level is, in a nor­mal en­vi­ron­ment there is one at­mos­phere of pres­sure; in the cham­ber, it is two at­mos­pheres of pres­sure, Pel­lec­chia said. “The pres­sure drives the oxy­gen into the liq­uid in the tis­sue.”

The ef­fect on the body is to grow small blood ves­sels to pro­vide nu­tri­ents to the tis­sue that needs to be re­paired, Arm­strong said.

“,W KHOSs WR sWLPuOaWH ERnH re­mod­el­ing … dam­age from Ln­fHFWLRn,” KH saLG. “,W wLOO ac­ti­vate things in the blood stream to break down the af­fected area bone and re­build it.

“Bac­te­ria thrive in an area that is not oxy­gen rich,” Arm­strong said. “By sat­u­rat­ing it with oxy­gen, you de­stroy the en­vi­ron­ment that bac­te­ria like to grown in.”

“,W aOsR PaNHs WKH wKLWH blood cells work bet­ter,” Pel­lec­chia said.

The treat­ment will not work on wounds in which the valves in­side the veins don’t work right or for trau­matic wounds or burns, Pel­lec­chia said.

There are risks, he said. A pa­tient could have seizures with pro­longed ex­po­sure at 100 per­cent oxy­gen, he said, but in his more than 10 years Rf usLnJ WKH WKHUaSy “, KaYH not seen it.”

While terming it “an in­te­gral part of wound care,” Pel­lec­chia said, it is “an ad­junct treat­ment,” ex­cept fRU WKH WRRWK WUHaWPHnW. ,f af­ter the nor­mal treat­ment a wound doesn’t heal, “we use this as an add-on treat­ment.”

“,W wRUNs EHWWHU Rn H[WHU­nal wounds” than on in­ter­nal ones, he said.

“,W’s nRW LnYasLYH aW aOO; LW’s a very re­laxed treat­ment in a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment,” Loux said.

“The other course is am­pu­ta­tion,” Arm­strong said. ,n WKH SasW, GLaEHWLFs ORsW WRHs anG finJHUs. “7KH fiYHyear mor­tal­ity rate for a di­a­betic with am­pu­ta­tion is 50 per­cent to 60 per­cent higher.

“We try to keep them as whole as we can so they can re­turn to a more nor­mal life.”

To Your Health Linda Finarelli

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.