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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at DCMH: Miracle Worker for Diabetic Wound

In Brief

  • The hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used to treat chronic wounds that won’t heal.
  • During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the patient is placed in a chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure. This gives more oxygen to the blood and wound, which reduces swelling, combats infection, and stimulates mechanisms necessary to heal to the wound.

As part two of a two-part series about wound care at Crozer-Keystone Health System, this article will focus on the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

Life for Kitty Miller was getting pretty difficult. She was suffering from a diabetic ulcer and osteomyelitis on her foot when she sought care at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

After seeing a podiatrist and an infection control physician, she underwent six weeks of IV antibiotics to first treat the osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone. She then had surgery on her foot and was hospitalized for a few days. Shortly after that, because her wound was still not healing, she visited the physicians and professionals of the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

“The wound on my foot kept getting larger and larger, and it was very painful,” Miller, a resident of Upper Darby, says. “I was pleasantly surprised when I was referred to the wound center. The people who worked with me couldn’t have been more professional and helpful.”

Because of Miller’s wound, she was required to undergo two rounds of 30 treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

“The hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used to treat chronic wounds that will not heal,” says Homayoon Pasdar, M.D., medical director of the Center of Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Patients are normally referred to the wound center when they have a wound that does not heal with usual treatments.

At the Advanced Wound Care Center, special treatments are used along with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the patient is placed in a urethane coated, acrylic chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure. This provides more oxygen to the blood and wound, which reduces swelling, combats infection, and stimulates mechanisms necessary to heal to the wound.

While in the chamber, patients have a full view of the area outside and can talk by phone to the specialized technician—who’s always within view.  Also, a physician is always available on site.

“When I found out that I would be treated using the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, I was a little hesitant,” Miller adds. “But the staff explained everything that I would be going through and also gave me a tour of the chambers. By the time my first treatment rolled around, I felt very comfortable.”

“Patients who are treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy may feel a little bit of pressure at the beginning and end of the treatments,” Pasdar adds. “A lot of patients describe the feeling to be similar to the take-off and landing of an airplane trip. So it’s typical that a patient’s ears pop.”

“My ears did pop at the beginning of my treatment, but the rest of my time in the chamber, which was two hours for each session, was very relaxing,” adds Miller. “I was able to watch my favorite TV shows and just take a nap. It was also very comforting knowing that there was always a technician in the room with me just in case I had a problem.”

Diabetic foot ulcers are one of several conditions that are treated at DCMH’s Center for Wound Healing. Other conditions include osteomyelitis, necrotizing infections, preparation for, and preservation of, skin grafts and flaps; radiation tissue damage, lower extremity wounds due to vascular insufficiency, crush injuries, carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning.

“My entire experience at DCMH was wonderful,” adds Miller. “Every physician worked together as a team to find the best possible treatment options for me. They were not satisfied until I had recovered completely.”

For more information about the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, call (610) 394-4770 or visit http://dcmhwoundcare.crozer.org.

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