A wound in the process of healing takes time - time away from work, from friends and family, and away from the quality of life you deserve. In some cases, healing a wound can be as simple as a medication change. In other, more complex situations, other therapies, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), may be needed.
While many people may not know of or fully understand HBOT, it's a useful therapy when treating wounds and other serious medical conditions, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.
The practitioners at Mission's Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center help accelerate the healing process. Our team of physicians and clinicians are specially trained to provide advanced wound care therapies like HBOT. After an initial assessment, the wound care team works to develop an individualized treatment plan that will address the patient's wound healing needs.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
HBOT is a painless medical treatment where patients breathe air that is 100 percent oxygen while lying inside a spacious pressurized chamber. (The air we normally breathe is only comprised of 21 percent oxygen.) The increased levels of oxygen in the bloodstream help promote healing, fight infection and aid in the restoration of damaged tissue.
HBOT is used for one or more of the following reasons:
- Advanced wound healing (wounds that do not heal with traditional treatments)
- Increased oxygen delivery to injured tissue
- Preservation of damaged tissue (limb salvage)
- Greater blood vessel formation
- Improved infection control (reduce infection)
- Elimination and reduced effects of toxic (poison) substances in the body
- Reduction or elimination of gas bubble obstructions in the blood
HBOT may be used alone; however, it is usually used in conjunction with other treatments such as wound care, antibiotics and, if needed, surgery. The number of treatments may be as few as 2 and as great as 80 depending on the condition. Treatments are usually once a day for both inpatients and outpatients.
Conditions Treated with HBOT
Specialized nurses in the Mission's Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center provide HBOT for a number of conditions, including:
- Lower extremity diabetic foot ulcers
- Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
- Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
- Crush injuries, compartment syndrome, complications of reattached extremity or body part
- Compromised skin grafts/failed flaps
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Actinomycosis (refractory)
- Chronic refractory osteomyelitis
- Soft tissue radionecrosis
- Gas gangrene
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Decompression sickness
- Air or gas embolism
- Cyanide poisoning
What to Expect During an HBOT Treatment
Our trained hyperbaric team members strive to make the treatment process as comfortable as possible for patients.
We will provide you with a special cotton gown or scrub suit to wear during each treatment. The hyperbaric chamber is large enough for you to sit up or lie down and patients often bring movies to watch or choose to take a nap during treatments. A typically HBOT session last two hours.
You will also be able to talk with staff during your treatment through an intercom system attached to the chamber.
When the treatment begins and the air pressure is increased, some patients notice that their ears feel full and "pop," similar to the feeling you get when flying or driving up a mountain. When the treatment is completed and the air pressure is brought back to normal, your ears may continue to pop. This is completely normal and will go away with time.
What to Expect After an HBOT Treatment
Most people have very few side-effects as a result of HBOT, but all medical procedures do involve some risk. Our staff will discuss the risks associated with HBOT before your first procedure.
Some "crackling" of the ears may occur after treatments as a result of the pressurized air. This is a normal effect but if the pressure persists and turns painful, please notify your doctor right away.
In addition, some patients have reported feeling light headed for a few days after treatment. This is usually brief and most people are able to go on with their usual activities afterwards.
Lastly, patients have reported changes in their eyesight. Studies show that regular vision will return within a few months after the last HBOT treatment.
Getting Ready for an HBOT Treatment
Tobacco: All tobacco products case blood vessels to become smaller and tighter. This makes it hard for blood and oxygen to get through. We ask that you use NO tobacco products during your treatment. This includes cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and smokeless tobacco.
Medications: It is very important that you give the staff a list of ALL the medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications.
Illness: Please let the staff know if you feel sick in any way. This includes symptoms of cold or flu, fevers, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, or body aches. You may need to stop treatments until you are well.
Clothing and Cosmetics: It is important to keep static electricity out of the chamber. For this reason, you will be given a special cotton gown or scrub suit to wear during your treatment.
You are NOT allowed to wear or take the following items into the chamber:
- Alcohol or petroleum products, including make-up, hairspray, deodorant, perfume, or shaving lotion.
- Nail polish must not be applied or removed during the 24 hours before treatment.
- Oils or grease, including hair and skin products.
- Cigarettes, lighters, or matches.
- Jewelry (rings, necklaces, earrings, body piercings) or other metal objects (pocket knives).
- Cell phones, Blackberrys, Iphones, IPODs, head phones, etc.
- Dentures or partial plates will be removed prior to your treatment. Contact lenses will also need to be removed prior to treatment. Glasses may be worn.
Please leave your valuables at home as we are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Mission Hospital's Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center has a skilled team of physicians and clinicians specially trained in wound care. The staff is committed to staying abreast of the relevant literature, research and technology in order to provide comprehensive, high quality care to you and your loved ones.
This multi-disciplinary team includes physicians, certified physician assistants, certified wound care nurses, certified wound specialists, certified hyperbaric physicians, certified wound ostomy continence nurses, certified lymphedema therapists, certified foot care nurses and certified nursing assistants..
Cost of HBOT
Medicare and most insurance companies cover HBOT treatments. Some insurance companies may require prior authorization or approval before you begin HBOT treatments. Depending on your insurance company and your plan, you may be required to pay a co-payment or percentage of each visit. You will receive two bills for HBOT treatment. One from the facility (Mission Hospital) and one from the attending hyperbaric physician (Provider Supervision). We will be glad to assist you in the insurance approval and billing process.
Referral and Contact Information
Referrals to the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center can be made by your physician or you may directly to set up an appointment for yourself as a physician referral is not necessary. (All patients must have an open or draining wound as criteria to be seen in the Wound Healing Center).
For more information use our online contact form or call the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center at 828-213-4600 or toll free at 888-737-0098. Physicians can fax completed referral and medical forms to 828-213-4611.
7 Yorkshire Street
Asheville, NC 28803