Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy may help reduce the rate of major amputations among Medicare patients suffering from diabetic foot ulcers, suggest researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Analysis Group in Boston.

The study, conducted by Dr J. Bradford Rice and Dr Lawrence Lavery, included 1868 patients age 65 and older, with continuous, non-HMO enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B. 

Before the study began, participants were matched through a scoring system accounting for demographic differences and wound characteristics prior to treatment.

The patients were then divided into two groups to study the difference in the amputation rate of: (1) patients receiving HBO therapy; and (2) patients receiving advanced wound care (AWC), such as with cellular and tissue-based products or negative pressure wound therapy.

Results found that the HBO group had approximately 33% fewer major amputations compared to the AWC group. A major amputation is defined as the loss of the limb above or below the knee.

Of significance is the finding that the HBO group suffered from diabetic foot ulcers for a longer duration prior to treatment, which resulted in more severe ulcers, explains a media release from the American Association for Wound Care Management.

“The importance of this study is that it analyzed Medicare’s own data and found that HBO therapy seems to reduce the risk of major amputation when used on patients with chronic, non-healing wounds, such as those resulting from diabetic complications,” says Dr Lee Rogers, medical director of the Amputation Prevention Centers of America.

“HBO therapy is often overlooked as a wound care option. This study indicates the value of further exploration,” he adds, in the release.

[Source(s): American Association for Wound Care Management, PR Newswire]