Sometimes, wounds and injuries do not heal as quickly as they should, causing pain and discomfort and drastically reducing a person's quality of life. Some chronic wounds are caused by pressure. Others are associated with conditions like diabetes or reduced blood flow to an injured area.
Patients with nonhealing and chronic wounds (one that hasn't healed significantly in four weeks or completely healed in eight weeks) have an option for advanced wound care and treatment on the Ashtabula County Medical Center campus. The ACMC Wound Healing Center focuses on treating chronic wounds caused by diabetes, poor circulation or infection.
Types of Wounds Treated
Diabetic neuropathic ulcers develop from injuries to the foot. The pain goes unnoticed due to a loss of feeling in the feet that is caused by diabetes. An unnoticed injury can be compounded, leading to severe tissue damage.
These are formed when constant pressure is applied to skin injuries. They usually form on bony parts of the body, like the knees, spine and heels, where pressure is constantly exerted against external surfaces.
Venous stasis ulcers are often found below the knees in people with chronic venous insufficiency (reduced blood flow in the limbs). Arterial ulcers are caused by poor circulation. Without an adequate blood supply, skin deteriorates and ulcers develop in the affected area.
Other non-healing wounds are caused by:
- Inflamed blood vessels (vasculitis)
- Surgical incisions.
- Animal or insect bites.
- Radiation injury.
- Trauma wounds or crush injuries.
Assessments and Treatment Plans
From an initial assessment through creating an individualized treatment plan, the center's staff uses sophisticated equipment and techniques to deliver quality care. Patients in the ACMC Wound Healing Center are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of physicians and nurses who have been specially trained in wound care.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The center also offers a hyperbaric medicine program. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a pain-free treatment that has been proven to heal wounds that have been resistant to standard therapy.
As an adjunctive therapy, national studies indicate that HBOT is four times more effective than conventional protocols alone. The treatment modality entails breathing 100 percent oxygen. In these conditions, the blood plasma becomes hyper-saturated, absorbing 10 to 20 times the normal amount of oxygen. This, in turn, allows for greater oxygenation of the tissues and corrects tissue hypoxia, a major contributing factor to nonhealing wounds.
This noninvasive therapy may be used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including:
- Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities.
- Bacterial infections.
- Soft tissue injuries related to radiation treatment.
- Compromised skin grafts and flaps.
- Gas gangrene.
- Necrotizing infections.
- Osteomyelitis or infection of the bone.
- Severe anemia.
- Severe trauma or crush injury.