VOLUSIA COUNTY – Two local hospitals – Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach – each recently added a third Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) chamber, increasing the number of patients with chronic or non-healing wounds who can be treated.
The hospitals, which both already had two HBO chambers, said they had more patients needing treatment than they could serve. In order to serve more patients, they each added a HBO chamber, bringing their combined count up to six. All in all, the two additional HBO chambers were a nearly $300,000 investment in local wound-healing care.
“We had extensive waiting lists and a growing patient demand for treatment,” said Joan Hofmann, Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Nurse Manager at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach. “With our additional HBO chamber, we are able to meet the needs of the community without delay and no longer need to postpone treatments because of a growing waiting list.”
During HBO, patients breathe 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. Since the air pressure is raised up-to three times higher than normal air pressure, a patient’s lungs can take in up-to three times more oxygen than when breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. The blood then carries this oxygen throughout the body, stimulating the release of stem cells and the growth of new blood vessels, killing certain types of infection and enhancing wound healing.
“Essentially, HBO therapy helps heal the wound from the inside out and fights infection by stimulating white blood cells,” said Pam Harkrider, Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Program Director at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City.
“One common element of chronic wounds is that they are all hypoxic – meaning low on oxygen, hence the need for HBO. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment maximizes oxygen delivery, which promotes the growth of new blood vessels, and thereby increasing wound-healing rates,” said Hofmann. “You can generally see improvement within 20 treatments.”
Non-healing wounds are caused by circulatory problems, poorly functioning veins and immobility, something common to diabetics. Each year, approximately 5.7 million Americans get chronic wounds, and these non-healing wounds can lead to serious complications. Patients with open wounds that are untreated are at risk for infection, amputation and death.
For diabetics, ulcerations of the feet, wound infection and progressive tissue loss are a major source of illness and mortality. A quarter of all diabetic patients will experience a diabetic foot ulcer. More troubling still is that each year, approximately 800,000 limb amputations will be performed because an ulcer has become so severe, an amputation must be performed in order to save a leg or the patient’s life. With 1.6 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year, it is easy to see why the area has experienced a growing demand for HBO Therapy.
“The financial and social impact to chronic non-healing wounds is significant,” said Hofmann. “HBO can heal these wounds faster, which improves a patient’s quality of life and reduces the wound’s financial impact.”
“We have had patients whose goal was to swim in the backyard pool with their children again, hike in the woods, or go play golf with their friends – activities that some patients were restricted from for years,” said Harkrider. “We were able to help them live a fuller life through wound care and HBO.”
Dr. Clarence Scott, MD, Internal Medicine physician at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, congratulates Obudlia Nieves on her last day of treatment. The 89-year-old Deltona woman is a diabetic who suffered with a chronic wound in her left foot for more than two years. After comprehensive treatment at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, Nieves’ wound has completely healed.