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Patient Education - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Patient Education - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Patient Education - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Foot Ulcer

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT is a medical treatment in which the patient breathes pure oxygen under pressure. It is administered in a chamber and is the treatment for many medical and surgical conditions. It is usually part of an overall plan of care which may involve surgery, antibiotics or other therapy, but for certain conditions it may be the main treatment.

How does HBOT work?

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, 100% oxygen is delivered in a closed chamber, and air pressure is increased to as much as 3 times normal. This causes a dramatic increase in oxygen taken in by the lungs which is then transferred to the blood.  The blood then transports the oxygen to all parts of the body. The oxygen-rich blood helps improve healing and controls infection in certain conditions.

How does HBOT help heal my diabetic foot ulcer?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to assist with healing of advanced diabetic foot ulcers. 

All tissue in the body needs oxygen to function, and when tissue is damaged, as in the case of a diabetic foot ulcer, it requires an increased amount of oxygen. With HBOT, the oxygen-rich blood is delivered to the diabetic foot ulcer. Cells that help heal the wound utilize this oxygen to optimally function. As a result of HBOT, cells help fight bacteria in the wound, assist with the development of blood vessels, and encourage tissue repair and growth (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on diabetic foot ulcer

What should I expect with HBOT for my ulcer?

  • The number of treatments ranges from 20 to 40 times, are scheduled daily, and may change based on how your wound is healing
  • You will continue regular wound follow up with your health care professional
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one part of diabetic ulcer healing. You may also require surgery, removal of infected or dead tissue from the wound, antibiotics, or other therapies
  • You will continue the recommendations of your health care professional such as offloading the affected area, improving nutrition, controlling your blood sugars, and using specialized dressings to keep the wound protected and clean.
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NOTE: This is a controlled document. This document is not a substitute for proper training, experience, and exercising of professional judgment. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents, neither the authors nor the Wound Reference, Inc. give any guarantee as to the accuracy of the information contained in them nor accept any liability, with respect to loss, damage, injury or expense arising from any such errors or omissions in the contents of the work.
Topic 1307 Version 1.0