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Safety and efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in chronic wound management: current evidence

Authors Eggleton P, Bishop A, Smerdon G

Received 2 December 2014

Accepted for publication 11 February 2015

Published 22 April 2015 Volume 2015:2 Pages 81—93

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CWCMR.S60319

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Romanelli


Paul Eggleton,1 Alexandra J Bishop,2 Gary R Smerdon2

1Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Science, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, 2DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, UK

Abstract: The breathing of pure oxygen under pressure to treat tissue damage has been employed for almost 45 years and has been investigated in prospective, retrospective, and randomized controlled trials. The physiological effects of oxygen treatment on wound tissue are profound, and include activation of immune cells, changes in cytokine production, and modulation of inflammatory and bactericidal mediators. Hyperbaric oxygen influences the biochemistry of whole cells, altering cell proliferation, angiogenesis, clotting, and tissue regeneration. The precise effects of hyperbaric oxygen on individual cell types and tissues are only beginning to be revealed in both animal and human studies. Many independent studies using hyperbaric oxygen adjunctively with standard wound care have observed improved healing, in particular for diabetic foot ulcers, and can result in a significant reduction in major amputations. Side effects occur infrequently, but myopia, ear barotrauma, and rarely oxygen toxicity have been reported. As antibiotics become less available, and clinician time and complex dressings become more expensive, use of hyperbaric oxygen as a means of treating a variety of wound types may become an increasingly appropriate option for treatment.

Keywords: clinical trials, foot ulceration, non-healing wounds, oxygen

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