BRISTOL – Despite the old saying, time doesn’t heal all wounds. That’s why patients with chronic wounds are taking advantage of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Bristol Regional Medical Center.
The hospital’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine will display its new hyperbaric oxygen therapy capabilities during an open house Friday, May 6, from 2-4 p.m. Media representatives are invited to attend.
The wound care center at Bristol Regional has been in operation for several years, but the addition of hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides patients with the most advanced options for healing wounds faster and more completely, said Mark Lynn, the center’s program director.
“Hyperbaric medicine involves exposing patients to 100 percent pressurized oxygen, which has been shown to help certain wounds close that may not have healed otherwise,” Lynn said. “The procedure is painless and very effective.”
Each year, as many as five million Americans suffer from chronic wounds caused by diabetes, circulatory problems or other conditions. In fact, 15 percent of those with diabetes develop chronic wounds, and 60,000 will undergo an amputation. Studies have shown that specialized wound-care treatment – such as hyperbaric medicine – accelerates wound healing, reduces amputation rates and helps patients avoid hospitalization.
“The vast majority of the people we care for have wounds that fall into four categories: diabetic foot ulcers, venous insufficiency ulcers, pressure wounds or arterial wounds due to poor blood flow,” said Dr. Nelson Gwaltney, the wound care center’s medical director. “Many of these people have had these wounds for years, and the ability to help them heal greatly improves their quality of life – especially when we are able to save a limb from amputation.
“We are very pleased to provide hyperbaric oxygen as another treatment option.”
Hyperbaric treatment is also offered at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport.