For over 50 years, hyperbaric medicine has been recognized as the definitive treatment for decompression sickness and air embolism. Today, as the result of extensive research, hyperbaric oxygen therapy in known to enhance the healing of problem wounds and to provide a vital addition to the cure of otherwise incurable infections.
Wounds that fail to heal because of inadequate tissue oxygen levels will not heal despite the best of traditional wound care. The causes of the inadequate oxygen may include poor arterial blood supply or local obstacles to the passage of oxygen such as radiation injury (radionecrosis), severe edema, chronic infections, or reperfusion injury after severe trauma. Inadequate oxygen supply interferes with cell replication, angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels that is essential to healing), a number of processes that are required for the killing of bacteria and fungi, and the deposition of new connective tissues (collagen etc.) that bring the tissues back together. The inadequately vascularized tissues can live but cannot obtain enough oxygen to meet the greater demands of healing and killing bacteria.
The obstacle that prevents oxygen from entering wounds and surrounding inflamed and infected areas impede its diffusion from the nearest flowing blood to the wound cells The only way that more oxygen can be delivered is to increase its pressure (partial pressure) in the blood. An oxygen-enriched atmosphere must be breathed at high pressure. In a particularly important development, hyperbaric oxygen has now been proven to increase the growth of new vessels to the hypoxic area. Thus, the healing effects can be made permanent.
In hyperbaric therapy, the patient breathes pure oxygen while inside a compression chamber at pressures considerably greater than that at sea level.
Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Lakeview Hospital
The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Lakeview Hospital was the first multi-place chamber in Utah. This means that up to 12 patients can be treated at once. This is especially helpful in treating families who have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, those who are claustrophobic, or young children.
Additionally, the hospital’s highly trained staff delivers an integrated team approach to healing. This includes an expert evaluation and a personalized care plan for every patient that receives treatment in the hyperbaric chamber.