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PHH to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2018

Two giant, plastic-wrapped presents arrived via semi-truck recently for delivery to Parkview Huntington Hospital (PHH). Each one took several men to maneuver it slowly off the truck and guide it carefully through the front door of the new Parkview Huntington Center for Wound Healing.

When the wrappings were peeled away, they revealed two treasures: shiny, transparent hyperbaric oxygen chambers that represent a key feature of the new center, which will open to patients on Tuesday, December 18.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBO therapy, involves the use of greater-than-normal air pressure to suffuse the body’s tissues with pure oxygen, which stimulates the natural healing process. This therapy can provide tremendous improvement in stubborn, chronic wounds that have not healed following standard treatment.

“HBO therapy can make a huge difference in quality of life for people who have been struggling with truly unpleasant wounds,” says Juli Johnson, president, PHH. “We’re really excited to be able to offer this state-of-the-art wound care treatment locally, so Huntington County residents won’t have to travel far.”

HBO therapy can be used to treat more than a dozen medical conditions, including: diabetic foot wounds, radiation injuries to tissue and bone, necrotizing infections, compromised skin grafts and skin flaps, some types of arterial insufficiency and ischemia. Most patients receive between 30 and 40 treatment sessions, depending on their condition and the judgment of the supervising physician.

During each two-hour session, the patient relaxes on a comfortable bed inside the see-through, pressurized chamber and watches TV, naps, or listens to music while the oxygen saturates their blood plasma, allowing it to carry 15 to 20 times the normal amount of oxygen to the tissues. The oxygen spurs the formation of blood vessels at the wound site, and encourages white blood cell activity to fight infection.

Due to the pressurization and depressurization process, the experience is typically compared to deep-sea diving, and a treatment session is referred to as a “dive.” At the beginning of each treatment, patients may feel pressure in their ears, as if descending under water or gaining altitude in a plane. The center’s team members – all of whom bring with them experience in surgery, nursing or other areas of healthcare – have received specialty training accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society. The care team will include physicians, a nurse practitioner, and nursing staff members under the supervision of a clinical program director.

Along with HBO therapy, the center will offer other clinically proven treatment options in partnership with Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. These treatments include negative-pressure wound therapy, bioengineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings and growth-factor therapies, as well as debridement.

Patients who have diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, burns, osteomyelitis, lymphedema, malignant wounds, vasculitis, peristomal skin irritations, and similar conditions can benefit from the center’s treatments.

The entrance to the Parkview Huntington Center for Wound Healing is located next to the medical office building on the campus of Parkview Huntington Hospital. The 3,657-square-foot space inside the center encompasses the HBO suite, five treatment rooms, a changing area with lockers and restrooms, and offices. It will be dedicated as the Huntington County Medical Society Wound Care Center in recognition of a gift from that organization.

Free parking is available. Physicians and patients will soon be able to make appointments for December 18 and later dates.

The photo shows the transparent hyperbaric oxygen chamber that will be used for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The therapy, also known as HBO therapy, involves the use of greater-than-normal air pressure to suffuse the body’s tissues with pure oxygen, which stimulates the natural healing process.