Using oxygen as a therapy for chronic wounds

Oxygen is becoming increasingly important for healing wounds.

We all know how important oxygen is, but for people dealing with chronic wounds, oxygen has become increasingly important.

"People found out that high levels of oxygen under very high pressure could assist in not only making people who didn't feel good feel better," says Ronald Kolegraff, Medical Director of the Baum Harmon Wound Healing Center. "But if we had wounds that were difficult to heal because they have diabetes and their circulation is poor, we can take people and save limbs."

At the Baum Harmon Wound Healing Center in Primghar, Iowa, two new hyperbaric oxygen chambers are utilized to aid in the healing chronic wounds.

"The technology is really quite old," says Kolegraff. "This was actually started in the early 1900s about the time that diving science started taking off."

Here's how it works: patients are put in these chambers, and the chambers are then filled with pure oxygen. As the patient breathes for ninety minutes within the chamber, the oxygen is absorbed in the blood stream, and stays in the body for twelve hours. The oxygen then goes to work, helping to heal the body from the inside out.

Having these oxygen chambers in northwest Iowa now gives patients another option, and for some, a closer option.

"I knew I needed it, but I didn't know where to go for it," says Ivan Pennings, patient at the Baum Harmon Wound Healing Center.

Ivan Pennings uses these chambers once a week for his treatment, and has been quite satisfied with the results over the course of four months.

"I have been the best right now than I have been in twenty years," says Pennings.

"We can't save everybody, but when we have a technique like this we can take and make a huge impact in someone's life," says Kolegraff. "Wounds that are very slow to heal can heal much faster."

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