Comprehensive Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric treatment can literally save the lives and limbs of patients with wounds that are difficult to heal because of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and poor circulation. It is also used to treat other difficult to heal wounds such as necrotizing infections (flesh-eating bacteria), radiation tissue damage, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation and scuba diving injuries.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment where a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen while in a pressurized chamber. Large doses of oxygen are dissolved into blood or body tissues at these pressures. This increased oxygen promotes wound healing by:

  • Stimulating small blood vessel growth
  • Promoting new skin growth
  • Helping to fight infection

HBOT is a supplemental therapy to be used in addition to current medical and surgical therapy.

Second largest unit in the U.S. now at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

Aurora offers wound care programs at:

Aurora Health Care delivers more hyperbaric oxygen therapy than any other health care provider in Wisconsin, providing 6,500 treatments to patients each year.

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is the only Wisconsin hospital with a hyperbaric chamber of the size and scope of the one now installed. The second-largest in the nation, the new chamber can accommodate up to 24 patients at one time Learn more.

St. Luke's has the only Level I wound care center in Wisconsin, staffed by board-certified hyperbaric and wound care physicians. Only 200 such centers exist in the U.S.

Aurora is the only Wisconsin health system accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. It is one of only 88 accredited nationwide, which places it in the top 10 percent of hyperbaric facilities in the U.S.

How is hyperbaric oxygen therapy administered?

HBOT treatments can be administered in one of two ways:

  • Monoplace chambers are single person chambers pressurized with oxygen.
  • Multiplace chambers are designed to hold 2 or more persons. Multiplace chambers are pressurized with air and patients breathe oxygen through a mask, hood.

When is hyperbaric oxygen therapy appropriate?

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Committee of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) has approved treatment for these conditions:

  • Air or gas embolism
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation
  • Carbon monoxide complicated by cyanide poisoning
  • Certain diabetic wounds
  • Clostridial myonecrosis (gas gangrene)
  • Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute traumatic ischemias
  • Decompression sickness
  • Intercranial abscess
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infections (subcutaneous tissue, muscle, fascia)
  • Osteomyelitis (refractory)
  • Radiation tissue damage (osteoradionecrosis, soft tissue radionecrosis)
  • Selected problem wounds
  • Severe blood loss (anemia)
  • Skin graft and flaps (compromised)
  • Thermal burns

Other conditions that may benefit from HBOT treatment

Any treatment must be approved by your insurance carrier.

  • Acute carbon tetrachloride poisoning
  • Acute retinal arterial occlusion
  • Acute spinal cord injury
  • Fracture healing and bone grafting
  • Head injury (cerebral edema)
  • Hydrogen sulfide poisoning
  • Pyoderma Gangrenosum
  • Selected refractory mycoses
  • Sickle Cell Anemia crisis