Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Extreme Wounds Heal at Northwest

by Helene King

At Northwest Hospital, patients are benefiting from a highly effective approach to treating chronic wounds. Through the Center for Wound Care at Northwest Hospital, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is now used to treat stubborn, non-healing wounds, including diabetic wounds and other ulcers of the lower extremities.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy enables patients to breathe 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber.

“Ulcers that do not heal are often caused by a decrease of blood flowing to a certain area of the body,” says Alan S. Davis, M.D., F.A.C.S., director of the Center for Wound Care and HBOT at Northwest Hospital. “This process assists in healing wounds, fights certain types of infections and helps improve circulation by stimulating new blood vessel growth.”

The hyperbaric oxygen chambers have been in operation for several years at Northwest Hospital, which is one of only a handful of regional hospitals offering this therapy. The results speak for themselves.

What began as slight discomfort for 69-year old Michael Sanner almost cost him the use of his leg. A stone lodged in his shoe had rubbed his ankle raw. Sanner noticed the bruised ankle turning a dark color the following day. His physician’s diagnosis: gangrene in the ankle with the possibility that his food would need to be amputated.

“It took me by surprise, it happened so quickly,” says Sanner, who was referred to the Center.

When conventional treatment didn’t work, it was determined that Sanner, a diabetic, was a candidate for HBOT. Almost immediately after the first treatment, the wound began to heal.

“It was the easiest healing process I’ve ever experienced, no fuss, no pain, no bother,” says Sanner.

In an initial patient consultation, measurements are taken to determine the likelihood of healing with HBOT. After several treatments, measurements are taken again to determine the therapy’s effectiveness.

The hyperbaric oxygen chambers are staffed by surgeons, technicians and nurses- all specially trained in hyperbaric medicine.

For a preliminary consultation, contact the Center for Wound Care at Northwest Hospital at 410-496-7191.

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