Oxygen Therapy

Helping Patients With Complications From Radiation Treatments and Diabetes

Increasing numbers of patients are surviving cancer thanks in part to sophisticated and targeted radiation treatments. And although their cancer has been successfully treated, some patients experience adverse effects from radiation even years down the line.

Many cancer patients are turning to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to help them recover from their radiation treatments. During HOBT therapy, patients breathe 100 percent oxygen under atmospheric pressure up to three times higher than normal, which significantly boosts the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The oxygen-rich blood aids damaged tissue, stimulating the release of chemicals that promote healing.

The benefits of HBOT therapy for cancer patients is growing, and it can successfully treat the following conditions due to the late effect of radiation:

  • Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the head and neck
  • ORN prevention with HBOT pre- and post-dental extraction
  • Esophagitis/tracheitis
  • Cystitis
  • Proctitis/colitis
  • Radiation-induced brain injury
  • Skin and soft tissue damage
  • Radiation-induced skin ulcerations
  • Nonhealing surgical wounds in a previous radiation field

Other patients can benefit from HBOT therapy including those with diabetes. Diabetic and lower extremity ulcers and amputations are an increasing problem for those with diabetes. Fortunately, HBOT therapy can treat a wide range of complications caused by diabetes. Benefits include:

  • Maximizing oxygen delivery where there is minimal or insufficiently corrected blood flow, HBOT has been shown to be an effective treatment for problem, lower extremity wounds.
  • Studies have shown that diabetic patients who receive HBOT treatment can lower their rate of operative interventions and lower extremity amputations.

In addition, HBOT has been approved for treatment of other conditions including:

  • Preservation of skin grafts/flaps in compromised tissues
  • Select acute arterial insufficiency wounds
  • Refractory osteomyelitis (bone infection)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Decompression sickness
  • Gas gangrene
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (destruction of the body’s soft tissue)
  • Acute traumatic ischemias (crush and compartment syndrome, 
 blast injuries)
  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Actinomycosis (bacterial disease)

The Wound Care Center and Hyperbaric Medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital pioneered the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the greater St. Louis area. St. Luke’s continues their promise of excellence today, providing services in their new facility located in St. Luke’s Outpatient Center, Building B across from the main hospital. Consultation is available by appointment from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 314.205.6818.