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BACKGROUND: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) and chronic venous ulcers (CVU) are persistent cutaneous lesions that are difficult to treat and heal. Topical hyperbaric oxygen (THO) and low-energy laser (LEL) are therapies that have been employed separately for ulcer treatment, but their concomitant use has not been investigated.
METHODS: In this unblinded, open-label non-randomized trial, we treated 374 consecutive patients with treatment-refractory chronic ulcers (218 patients with DFU and 156 individuals with CVU) with a combination of THO and LEL. THO was administered by pumping 100% oxygen into a disposable, sealed polyethylene chamber for 2 h, two to three times weekly. LEL was administered concurrently using a helium-neon laser at 4 J/cm(2) for 20 min.
RESULTS: Complete ulcer closure was obtained in 78% of patients in each group (170 patients with DFU and 127 patients with CVU). Treatment failure resulting in amputation in DFU was seen in 48 patients (22%); non-closure of ulcers within 18 months in individuals with CVU was seen in 29 (22%). The length of therapy was also similar in the two groups (3.7+/-3 versus 4.1+/-3 months in DFU and CVU cohorts, respectively). However, the number of treatments required to affect healing was greater in the CVU group than among the DFU patients (40+/-25 versus 31.4+/-20 treatments).
CONCLUSION: THO and LEL therapies are safe, effective, simple and inexpensive therapies for DFU and CVU. Confirmation must await the performance of double-blind, randomized, controlled trials currently under way
Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) are common, difficult-to-treat, and prone to complications. A prospective, controlled study was conducted to: 1) examine the clinical efficacy of a pressurized topical oxygen therapy (TWO2) device in outpatients (N = 28) with severe DFU referred for care to a community wound care clinic and 2) assess ulcer reoccurrence rates after 24 months. Seventeen (17) patients received TWO2 five times per week (60-minute treatment, pressure cycles between 5 and 50 mb) and 11 selected a silver-containing dressing changed at least twice per week (control). Patient demographics did not differ between treatment groups but wounds in the treatment group were more severe, perhaps as a result of selection bias. Ulcer duration was longer in the treatment (mean 6.1 months, SD 5.8) than in the control group (mean 3.2 months, SD 0.4) and mean baseline wound area was 4.1 cm2 (SD 4.3) in the treatment and 1.4 cm2 (SD 0.6) in the control group (P = 0.02). Fourteen (14) of 17 ulcers (82.4%) in the treatment group and five of 11 ulcers (45.5%) in the control group healed after a median of 56 and 93 days, respectively (P = 0.04). No adverse events were observed and there was no reoccurrence at the ulcer site after 24 months' follow-up in either group. Although the absence of randomization and blinding may have under- or overestimated the treatment effect of either group, the significant differences in treatment outcomes confirm the potential benefits of TWO2 in the management of difficult-to-heal DFUs. Clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness studies as well as studies to elucidate the mechanisms of action of TWO2 are warranted