The Region's Only Hyperbaric Oxygen Unit - Terrebonne General ...

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The Region's Only Hyperbaric Oxygen Unit - Terrebonne General ...

TGMC HYPERBARIC & WOUND CARE CLINIC OFFERSThe Region’s OnlyHyperbaric Oxygen UnitTerrebonne General Medical Center’s(TGMC) Wound Care Clinic is home toSoutheast Louisiana’s only hyperbaricoxygen (HBO) therapy units, whichincludes two hyperbaric chambers staffedby a Medical Director, a CertifiedHyperbaric Registered Nurse and aCertified Hyperbaric Technician.Some five million Americans developchronic wounds each year, due to theresult of diabetes, vascular disease, radiationtherapy and other conditions thatmay inhibit the body’s ability to carry outthe normal healing process. In somecases, these wounds take weeks, months,even years to fully heal, dramaticallyaffecting the quality of life. Any woundthat takes more than three weeks to healis considered chronic.The Wound Care Clinic at TGMC isthe most comprehensive center of its kindin the region. The technology at the cliniccan accelerate the healing process,reduce amputation rates and help patientsavoid hospitalization.Among the many services offered byTGMC’s Hyperbaric & Wound CareClinic is hyperbaric oxygen therapy(HBO). While the air we normally breatheis only 21 percent oxygen, HBO therapyprovides 100 percent pure oxygenwithin a pressurized chamber. Breathingpure oxygen increases the level of oxygenin the blood stream, which promotes healingby stimulating new vascular growth.This, in turn, facilitates the normalwound healing process. It also helpsin the preservation of damaged tissuesby increasing oxygen delivery toinjured tissue.“We use a simple, non-invasiveprocedure called TranscutaneousOximetry Measurements (TCOMs) todetermine a wound’s healing potential andto see if the patient is a candidate forhyperbaric treatment,” said Connie Wiltz,RN, CHRN, nurse coordinator for theHyperbaric Medicine Department. The5 Winter 2005


procedure measures the oxygen levels in apatient’s tissue on room air and with thepatient breathing 100 percent oxygen. “Ifa patient responds well and has a goodregional perfusion index (RPI), it’s a goodindication that hyperbaric oxygen therapywill help them.”Results can be dramatic, she said.“Right now, we’re seeing a patient whohas only had 10 treatments. We canalready see a significant improvement inthe wound.”Approximately 25 percent of patientstreated at TGMC’s Wound Care Clinicreceive HBO therapy. While the majorityof chronic wounds treated are caused bycirculatory problems, HBO therapy hasalso proven effective in treating woundsresulting from trauma cases and tissuedamage caused by radiation. HBO therapycan also be used to treat carbonmonoxide poisoning, air or gas embolism,The wound care treatment offered byTGMC can accelerate the healingprocess, reduce amputation rates andhelp patients avoid hospitalization.decompression sickness (the bends), gasgangrene and a host of other medical conditions.Clinical trials are underway forthe use of hyperbaric medicine to treatstrokes, traumatic brain injuries, heartattacks and cerebral palsy.“Patients may have some anxiety thefirst time they see the hyperbaric chamber,but once they get in and have their firsttreatment, that anxiety normally goes away.Once inside the chamber, the patient canwatch TV, tapes or DVDs.” Treatmentsvary in length, but the average treatmentlasts about an hour and a half. For typicalchronic wounds, treatment is providedevery day, Monday through Friday, and theaverage patient receives approximately 30treatments. “After their first treatment,patients are much more relaxed, and oncethey begin to see some improvement, theyare eager to continue their treatment,”Wiltz said.According to Hector A. Linares, M.D.,medical director of the hyperbaric medicinedepartment, “If patients are properlyselected, it is very rewarding to see theexcellent results obtained. During therecent emergency after the strike ofHurricane Katrina, we had the opportunityto help treat patients intoxicated by carbonmonoxide, due to the use of generators.The patients recovered nicely aftersingle treatments with hyperbaric oxygenin our chambers.”If you are experiencing chronicwounds caused by diabetes or other circulatoryproblems, ask your doctor if HBOtherapy is right for you. Your physiciancan refer you to Terrebonne General’sHyperbaric & Wound Care Clinic. Theclinic’s Medical Director will assess yourcase and discuss with your physicianbefore prescribing a course of treatment.For more information or a list ofphysicians affiliated with TerrebonneGeneral, please call 1-888-543-TGMC.Terrebonne General Medical Center6

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