HBOT for Diabetic Wounds
When I started in the field over 10 years ago most physicians looked at Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) as “snake oil” for treating diabetic wounds. Now, most insurance companies including Medicare, consider HBOT as a gold standard adjunct therapy when healing chronic wounds.
When a person has diabetes, over time they may develop a wound that has difficulty healing. These wounds can be stubborn and caused by decreased circulation from hardened arteries, decreased sensation, or a traumatic event making it harder for a wound to heal. These diabetic wounds can persist for weeks, months, or even years. Over time poor blood flow may cause a hypoxic (lack of oxygen) environment creating a wound and developing an infection, sometimes to the bone.
Once an infection sets in and the patient is still not healing properly, it could only be a matter of time until the patient is forced to have an amputation. By combining proper wound care and HBOT this increases the healing rate and decreases the amputation rate.
Some important facts to know about amputations:
• Every day in the U.S., there are over 500 amputations, adding up to more than 185,000 amputations every year.
• Diabetes is the leading cause of amputation in America, followed by traumatic injury and cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 33 percent of Americans will have diabetes by 2050.
• Almost half of the people, who have an amputation due to vascular disease like diabetes, will die within five years. That’s higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast, colon and prostate cancer
• As many as 55 percent of diabetics who have a lower extremity amputation, will need to amputate the second leg within two to three years.
Research has proven that HBOT serves four primary functions:
1. It increases the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the blood, which allows more oxygen to reach all parts of the body
2. It replaces inert gas in the bloodstream with oxygen, which is then metabolized by the body
3. Stimulates the formation of a collagen matrix and angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels)
4. It acts as a bactericide for certain susceptible bacteria. Many types of bacteria do not like the presence of 100% oxygen thus making it easier to fight off infections.
Diabetic lower extremity wounds are one of the most common insurance covered diagnoses treated with HBOT. According to Medicare, the criteria for a diabetic ulcer is:
1. You have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and have a lower extremity wound that’s due to diabetes.
2. You have a wound classified as Wagner grade III or higher.
3. You’ve failed an adequate course of standard wound therapy.
Once a patient meets these criteria it is important for them to seek HBOT as an adjunct to treatment. At Hyperbaric Healing we are an adjunct therapy. We do not perform wound care on site. If you are not currently having wound care, we can refer you to the proper medical professional to be seen.
Our facility follows Medicare guidelines for diabetic ulcers and the patients are constantly monitored for signs of improvement and evaluated by medical professionals.
Other factors we monitor as well to ensure results are; glycemic control, nutrition, vascular status, as well as proper wound care. From these combinations, this gives the patient the best possible chance for healing.
If you or someone you know is diabetic with a non-healing wound contact us today to see if HBOT can assist in the healing process!
Other resources regarding Diabetic Ulcers & Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy: