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The Chamber

HMHP expands hyperbaric oxygen therapy to Trumbull County

June 23, 2008
By BOB COUPLAND Tribune Chronicle
WARREN — Humility of Mary Health Partners has opened its second hyperbaric oxygen therapy program, this one at St. Joseph Health Center’s Wound Care Center in Warren.

Since August 2005, St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown has had a hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment program that served many patients from Trumbull County. Starting this week, patients who live closer to Warren will be able to receive the same therapy treatment at St. Joseph.

Rod Neill, director of the Wound Care Center, said with the new program, Trumbull County will help expand HMHP’s Department of Hyperbaric Medicine. There was a need to expand because of the increasing number of patients from Trumbull County and even many from the Cleveland Clinic who were using the Youngstown chamber.

‘‘We’re very excited about expanding the program. The expansion to St. Joseph offers our Trumbull County patients additional access to the very best treatment options close to home,’’ Neill said.

Neill said HMHP was the first in the area to offer a continuum of wound care including HBOT. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy is utilized in the treatment of patients with chronic wounds and also for some trauma patients and those recovering from oral surgery or undergoing radiation treatment.

Neill said the high-intensity oxygen increases the amount of oxygen circulated to body tissues through a patient’s blood. Oxygen-enriched blood has been proven to help in preserving damaged tissues, increased blood vessel formation, infection control and ultimately wound healing, he said.

Patients treated with HBOT are placed in a sealed hyperbaric chamber that is pressurized to 2.5 times atmospheric pressure for periods of between 90 to 120 minutes. A physician specialist, as well as specially trained nurses and technicians, supervise each treatment.

‘‘The chambers help get oxygen to parts of the body to help with healing,’’ he said, indicating bacteria is killed in the process.

‘‘Since St. Joseph started offering this three years ago we have had incredible results and happy patients,’’ he said.

Patients are referred by their physicians for the treatment.

Mark Roth, coordinator of the hyperabric department of the hospital, said with two chambers, eight treatments a day can be run for two-hour sessions.

Roth said just as a patient gets adjusted to pressure changing in an airplane, they also get adjusted to the pressure in the chamber such as popping of their ears.

‘‘Once you reach a certain point, it levels off people can sit back and watch television,’’ he said showing the television monitors viewable from the chambers in a reclining position. ‘‘We try to ease their anxiety by helping them relax by watching television. We want them to be comfortable.’’

Typical treatment is 40 treatments over eight weeks, he said.

People taller than 6 feet and of any weight up to 700 pounds can fit in the chamber. Roth said all ages, from infants to senior citizens, can use the chambers

Neill said a patient lies on a cot and is placed inside the chamber which is enclosed by acrylic glass. From there, the oxygen is the atmosphere inside changes increasing the pressure which forces more oxygen to an area of the body that doesn’t get good oxygen due to poor circulation.

Roth and Neill said the therapy is recommended for diabetic leg ulcers, deep infections in the bones, those affected by carbon monoxide, crush injuries from vehicle accidents, those following radiation therapy to help repair tissue and those who may be faced with having to have a leg possibly amputated.

Neill said the therapy is an outpatient care but have also included intensive care patients.



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