Topical hyperbaric oxygen and electrical stimulation: exploring potential synergy.


Natural Sciences

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Ostomy/wound management

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Treatment of chronic wounds involves interventions ranging from dressings to surgery. Modalities gaining popularity in clinical settings include topical hyperbaric oxygen and electrical stimulation. A prospective, uncontrolled study was conducted to obtain preliminary observations and data about the effects of topical hyperbaric oxygen therapy and topical hyperbaric oxygen used with electrical stimulation on the healing of chronic wounds. All subjects were geriatric residents of long-term care facilities with Stage III or Stage IV pressure ulcers. Topical hyperbaric oxygen was applied daily to the wounds of eight subjects; three also received electrical stimulation. Initial wound size ranged from 87.75 cm2 to 7.04 cm2 with an average size of 30.1 +/- 28.5 (mean +/- sd) cm2. Healing times ranged from 8 to 49 weeks. After 4 weeks of treatment with topical hyperbaric oxygen, wound size decreased an average of 34.4% +/- 22.9%. Incidentally, the wounds of five of the eight subjects decreased more than 20%, for an average of 51.8% +/- 17.9%. No significant differences in healing were observed between patients receiving topical hyperbaric oxygen alone and those receiving topical hyperbaric oxygen/electrical stimulation. Preliminary data indicate that topical hyperbaric oxygen facilitates wound healing and full closure for pressure ulcers in patients with and without diabetes mellitus. A multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind controlled study is currently under way.

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