Summit Healthcare is home to a specialized Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. The advanced medical center houses two hyperbaric chambers and is the only rural hospital in northeastern Arizona to offer this service. This addition is part of our goal to provide a complete system of medical and professional care to our patients.
Summit Healthcare’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center is an outpatient, hospital-based program. The medical center is designed to complement the services offered by patients’ primary care physicians–in fact; we should think of it an extension of a physician’s practice.
Patients receive outstanding, professional, and courteous attention in a timely fashion, and are returned to the referring physician once the healing is satisfactory. The program operates by appointment and requires a referral from the primary care physician.
What is a hyperbaric center?
In our hyperbaric center, patients receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy via full-body immersion in a clear, comfortable chamber. This form of therapy involves exposure to 100 percent oxygen at an increased pressure than is normal in the natural environment.
How does hyperbaric treatment work?
Hyperbaric therapy works by exposing a person to several times more atmospheric oxygen than is common in our normal environment. In a hyperbaric chamber, oxygen is delivered up to 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure. During a 30- to 90-minute hyperbaric session, a person’s blood oxygen level can increase as much as eightfold. This increase sends more oxygen into tissues and organs, where it supports the healing process.
Summit Health Cares – Wound Care and Hyperbarics Center
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Humans are dependent on oxygen at all times. This substance is vital to the production of energy in the mitochondria in every cell in the body. The natural atmosphere is approximately 21 percent oxygen, whereas a hyperbaric chamber exposes a person to 100 percent oxygen in a high-pressure environment. Numerous studies suggest that this exposure provides extraordinary health benefits. These benefits stem from the increased uptake of oxygen into the bloodstream. When there is more oxygen in the blood, the body benefits in ways such as:
- Reduced swelling in injured tissue
- Accelerated wound healing
- Improved immune function to fight infection and bacteria
- Increase in the production of new blood vessels
Conditions We Treat In Our Hyperbaric Center
Our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center allows the hospital to offer a more comprehensive wound care program to manage chronic or non-healing wounds caused by diabetes, circulatory problems, and other conditions. The following are types of wounds Summit Healthcare’s Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center can treat.
- Diabetic ulcers
- Ischemic ulcers
- Neuropathic ulcers
- Peristomal skin irritations
- Pressure ulcers
- Surgical wounds
- Traumatic wounds
- Venous insufficiency
- Other chronic, non-healing wounds
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments
The following are types of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment that we offer at Summit Healthcare.
- Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
- Brown recluse spider bites
- Chronic refractory osteomyelitis
- Compromised skin grafts and flaps
- Crush injury
- Diabetic ulcer of the lower extremities
- Late-stage radiation injury
- Progressive necrotizing infection
- Soft tissue radio-necrosis
How to prepare for hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
There are very few guidelines for patients undergoing hyperbaric therapy. Because treatment involves lying on a treatment table for some time, patients are encouraged to wear comfortable cotton clothing. No extra items may go into the chamber; patients should arrive without jewelry, wigs, hair accessories, perfume, or makeup. It may be possible to take a water bottle into the chamber.
Before hyperbaric therapy, patients should avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and carbonated beverages for several hours. Patients may want to limit fluid intake for a few hours before treatment
The technician or overseeing physician may also need to know if the patient is taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications.
How will I feel during hyperbaric treatment?
Hyperbaric therapy involves compression. During the compression and decompression phases, a patient may feel slight pressure in their ears, somewhat similar to the sensation one may feel in an airplane. Strategies like opening the mouth or swallowing can alleviate this sensation. The transition into and out of target pressure may also increase the temperature inside the chamber. Once at pressure, patients should feel no unusual sensations.
Are hyperbaric chambers safe?
Hyperbaric chamber therapy is generally safe. Complications from pressurization and decompression are very rare due to the direct oversight from a highly-trained medical professional. The most common risks of hyperbaric chamber use are temporary side effects such as myopia and pressure changes in the inner ear. Before hyperbaric therapy, patients are fully informed about the potential risks of treatment.
Side Effects of Hyperbaric Treatment
It is uncommon for patients to experience side effects related to hyperbaric treatment. Patients may feel mild sinus discomfort or popping in their ears during a treatment session. Some people feel slightly claustrophobic, though strategies can remedy this. After hyperbaric treatment, patients are typically able to resume all normal activities. However, some patients experience temporary changes in their vision. Visual changes are more likely to develop during a longer course of treatment (20 or more sessions). After treatment ends, vision is expected to return to normal.