Author Archive

Saving Life and Limb! Warning—Graphic Images

By · October 17, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

I have personally treated numerous patients over the last 12 years with non healing wounds. (Check out the graphic images below) Sometimes, people were one step away from amputation. It is so rewarding to save toes, feet, and whole legs (and other body parts) and to see how we can give back a quality of life that our patients never thought possible.

Do you or someone you know have a non healing wound that stems from vascular insufficiency, a complication after radiation therapy, diabetes, or a problem amputation site? How about a wound that comes from a traumatic injury or one that just won’t heal after surgery?

These wounds could all share the common underlying problem of having a low oxygen level, what doctors call tissue hypoxia usually related to poor circulation. Add to the common problem of low oxygen, tissue inflammation and/or infection and you have the ingredients for what could become a very serious limb or life threatening situation.

Sometimes wounds fail to respond to wound care alone. This happens especially when a person has multiple complicating factors like diabetes or a history of radiation therapy.

Fortunately, when hyperbaric oxygen treatment is used in conjunction with standard wound care, patient outcomes improve substantially. Give us a call and/or tell your doctor that you would like to try hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Contact Richard Flyer, Clinical Director at (775) 826-2084. We offer a free consultation.

Key to Images:
First Row—-Diabetic wound with a bone infection. Healed after 35 treatments (7 weeks)
Second Row—Crush injury to hand. 3 treatments to start for a total of 20 total (4 weeks)
Third Row—-Wound from radiation to the neck. 35 treatments (7 weeks)
Fourth Row—Open wound on knee from radiation. Needed 20 treatments (4 weeks)-graft applied after.

Healing From Late Effects of Radiation–Video Patient Testimonial (09/28/11)

By · October 10, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and HBOT

By · September 12, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

As we approach the winter time in the Truckee Meadows, please consider how to protect you and your family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is a leading cause of death by poisoning in the United States. Among causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning are automobile exhaust (accidental or purposeful), faulty heaters, and building fires. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an approved treatment for this serious condition.

Many factors affect the carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms and the outcome of treatment.

Most significant factors are: the inhaled CO concentration, duration of exposure, rate and depth of breathing, heart rate, co-morbid illnesses and most importantly, the time between discovery of the patient after exposure and arrival at a Hyperbaric Chamber.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Stephen R. Thom, M.D., Ph.D., FACEP and Lindell K. Weaver, M.D., FACP, FCCP, FCCM

The injuries caused by carbon monoxide (CO) traditionally have been viewed as due to a hypoxic stress mediated by an elevated carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level. The two organ systems most susceptible to injury from CO are the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Human and animal data indicate that major cardiac injury is due primarily to CO-induced hypoxic stress.

However, the COHb level does not correlate well with the development of neurological injuries. Recent investigations have established that systemic oxidative stress can arise from exposure to CO and that perivascular and neuronal injuries arise by mechanisms other than hypoxia. Neuropathology seems to be due to a complex cascade of biochemical events involving several pathophysiologic processes.

Administration of supplemental oxygen is the cornerstone of treatment of CO poisoning. Oxygen inhalation will hasten disassociation of CO from hemoglobin dissociation to occur at a rate greater than that achievable by breathing pure oxygen at sea-level pressure.

Additionally, HBO2, but not ambient pressure oxygen treatment, has several actions which have been demonstrated in animal models to be beneficial in ameliorating pathophysiologic events associated with central nervous system (CNS) injuries mediated by CO.

These include an improvement in mitochondrial oxidative processes, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, and impairment of leukocyte adhesion to injured microvasculature. Animals poisoned with CO and treated with HBO2 have been found to have more rapid improvement in cardiovascular status, lower mortality, and lower incidence of neurological sequelae.

Since 1960, the clinical use of HBO2 for CO poisoning has occurred with increasing frequency. Over 2,500 CO-intoxicated patients were treated in North American hyperbaric chambers in 1992. However, this is only a small fraction of those poisoned with CO. Extrapolation of data from a 1994 survey across three western states projected that over 4,000 CO-poisoned patients are evaluated in emergency departments annually in the United States.

In reported series, clinical recovery among patients treated with HBO2 appears to be improved beyond that expected with ambient pressure supplemental oxygen therapy. This has been observed both in terms of mortality and neurologic morbidity.

This research found that the optimal benefit from HBO2 occurs in those treated with the delay after exposure and that repeat treatments may yield a better outcome than just a single treatment in selected patients.121

Crush Injuries, Compartment Syndrome and other Traumatic Injuries

By · September 6, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Crush Injuries, Compartment Syndrome and other Traumatic Injuries

Crush injuries and compartment syndrome are acute traumatic ischemis associated with complex wounds following severe physical injury. Ischemia means an inadequate supply of blood to organs and tissues.

Causes of Crush Injuries and Compartment Syndrome

Great weight, severe blows, gunshots, or automobile and other accidents may cause crush injury. Complications include infections, nonhealing bone fractures, and amputation.

Compartment syndrome results when pressure builds within the body after injury, surgery, or muscle strain. Nerve damage or muscle death may result.

Treatment of Traumatic Ischemias with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is emerging as a promising treatment for crush injury, compartment syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemias. HBOT improves the circulation of oxygenated blood to wounds to help fight infection, reduce swelling, and promote healing.

Natural Healing for Children with Autism using Hyperbaric Oxygen

By · August 23, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Some evidence that HBOT can mitigate some of the symptoms of Autism.

HBOT Helps Heal Damage from Radiation

By · August 2, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Modern cancer treatments utilize radiation therapy. Doses used to kill cancer growth can sometimes damage (5% of the time) the surrounding tissue. How radiation effects us is really an individual matter. These effects might be felt 6 months to years after the exposure.

Radiation can damage some of the blood vessels in the area where the cancer was. Having less blood supply and oxygen to those areas can lead to non-healing tissues.

Take cancer of the head and neck for example. The jawbone sometimes gets in the way of the path of radiation. The jawbone is very thick and hard and starts out with a smaller number of blood vessels compared to other tissues of the body. After radiation to the head and neck some small vessels feeding the jaw bone can be damaged.

Oral surgeons are concerned about what they call radiation carries or decay of teeth from radiation. In a jaw that has been exposed, the surgeon is concerned that removing damaged teeth could lead to complications such as infection or lead further still to actual death of part of the jawbone. So, HBOT is used prior to teeth extraction to help re-generate new blood vessels and following surgery to remove the affected teeth to help speed post surgical healing.

HBOT works on many other parts of the body–breast, prostate, bladder, gynocological area, GI, and abdomen.

Northern Nevada Hyperbarics has almost 11 years of treatment experience. We have the most experience with treating the effects of radiation therapy and other conditions such as non healing wounds. And, through our year old partnership with Renown Health, we have created the most modern facility where the quality of patient care is number one.

Michael Phelps Using Hyperbaric Chamber for 2012 Olympic Training

By · July 6, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Michael Phelps is a 16-time Olympic medalist in swimming, but he isn’t getting any younger. In his effort to train for what he says will be his final Olympics in London, he is looking for every advantage he can get for his training.

After years of training, he has learned that when he trains at high altitude, he bounces back from workouts at a much faster pace. So, instead of moving his training to a high altitude location, Phelps has managed to bring the high altitude to him.

The use of hyperbaric chambers is becoming more widely used for various medical conditions as well as by athletes in training. They have even become very popular among players in the NFL. However, there are two different types of treatment that very often get confused.

Hyperbaric Therapy

For athletes, oxygen is an essential component for the muscles. Oxygen combines with pyruvic acid in the body to create adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is essential for muscle energy. If there is not enough oxygen present to combine with the pyruvic acid, it becomes lactic acid. Unfortunately, during intense exercise, the body is not able to remove this lactic acid quick enough and it collects in the muscle tissue. This collection can lead to muscle fatigue.

By using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the athlete provides the body with the necessary amount of oxygen to combine with the pyruvic acid as well as flush out the lactic acid. This reduces the occurrences of muscle fatigue.

Hypobaric Therapy

However, in high altitude, the level of oxygen is lower. When athletes train at higher elevations, the body becomes stressed from a lower amount of oxygen. In response to this stress, the body produces more red blood cells. This increase in blood cell production then increases the amount of red blood cells in the body. When the athlete then returns to lower altitude conditions, the body is then able to function for longer because of the increased oxygen being transported throughout the body.

In the case of Phelps, he has been using a personal hypobaric chamber for sleep. He is currently sleeping every night at an altitude level of 8,000 feet and has been doing so for almost a year. This has boosted his body’s ability to produce red blood cells and allow him to perform better and heal quicker after intense training.

This may sound very similar to blood doping (the process where athletes use medication or blood procedures to increase the red blood cells), the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled in 2006 that these chambers do enhance performance and violate the spirit of the sport. However, they did not include it in their list of banned substances so it is currently legal for athletes to use. Do you think this type of treatment should be allowed?

Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and 20 year medical professional. Working now as a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for NFL and Olympics, she brings her love for both sports and the medical field together in her writing. Follow here on Twitter @fwcdeborah.

Flesh Eating Bacteria is Coming to a Town Near You!

By · May 16, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Flesh eating bacteria is in the news. Aimee Copeland, the Georgia student who lost her leg to a rare flesh-eating infection after a zip-line injury, knows she’s lucky to be alive, according to her family.

Flesh eating bacteria are a common term to describe what are called Necrotizing soft tissue infections. We have treated a number of these cases over the past year. Several of them were in men in the area of the scrotum, where these poor mens’ testicles swelled up to the size of grapefruits. Fortunately, with surgery and HBOT, we were able to heal these horrible infections.

Necrotizing soft tissue infections are rare, serious, and sometimes life-threatening bacterial infections. Necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease, is the most widely known infection of this type. Necrosis means the death of cells and tissue. Skin, muscle, and connective tissue infected with bacteria may suffer hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, and die.

Flesh-eating disease may be caused by a number of different bacteria, in a single strain or mixed, originating within the body, in chronic or traumatic wounds, or from foreign matter. One increasingly common cause of flesh-eating disease is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which has become a particularly troublesome hospital- and healthcare-acquired infection (HAI).

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is emerging as an adjunct to traditional surgery and antibiotic therapy for these special kinds of problem wounds. Some of the bacteria involved are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments. HBOT inhibits anaerobic and some other bacteria from replicating, spreading, and releasing damaging toxins. Hyperbaric oxygen may also boost the effect of antibiotics, enhance the body’s natural defenses against flesh-eating bacteria, and help resolve or delay the onset of sepsis, a deadly blood poisoning.

So, remember, watch out for any routine infection—you never know when it might be Flesh Eating Bacteria.

HBOT Might Help Wounded Warriors

By · May 10, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Check out Video Clip

Things to Know Before You Dive Lake Tahoe

By · April 18, 2012 · Filed in HBOT · No Comments »

Most Beautiful Clarity for Diving

It’s that time of year, heading for summer, for those of you who want to scuba dive at Lake Tahoe. It is a clear and pristine location to make that easy entry dive. Please remember that the lake is at 6400 ft. elevation and at present there is a lot of cold snow melt.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll need to prepare with high altitude dive tables and use a thick wet or dry suit. Also, think of how you get to the lake. Do you drive or fly there? Did you give yourself time to de-gas from sea level? Are you going to have to go up over a pass to get back to where you are staying? Do you know the symptoms of simple or severe decompression sickness? Include Northern Nevada Hyperbarics, the only facility treating decompression sickness, in your dive planning.

Northern Nevada Hyperbarics is at Renown Medical Center in Reno, NV. We are capable of treating all forms of decompression sickness. We have Sechrist mono place chambers with air-brake capabilities. Our staff has a combined 50+ years of experience.

Contact Frank Irwin (the smiling one in the photo above), safety and dive officer at (775) 826-2084

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