Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps Heal Foot Ulcer

When Ed Podgers came to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in March 2009, he planned to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff. To his surprise, the 57-year-old learned he had bigger health issues, including an infected foot ulcer.

"Before my shoulder surgery," explained Ed, "my doctor ordered a stress test. It revealed that my heart was bad."

A diabetic, Ed was diagnosed with coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Although his primary doctor brought those issues under control, his podiatrist gave him some unsettling news. Ed, who suffers from neuropathy, had an infected ulcer on the bottom of his left foot.

He was immediately referred to wound care specialist and surgeon Timothy Field, M.D., a member of the Ingalls Medical Staff and medical director for Ingalls Hyperbaric and Wound Center. Dr. Field removed the ulcer and recommended hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help heal the wound. Ed was also given antibiotics.

"Foot problems oftentimes happen when there is neuropathy, or nerve damage," explained Dr. Field, "and can cause a person to lose his or her ability to feel pain in the affected area."

To his dismay, the infection had spread, and two toes had to be amputated. But Ed's outlook slowly improved. His infection was cured, and he started receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy five days a week to help heal his wounds.

"The thought of being placed in a glass tube for any amount of time scared the daylights out of me," said Ed, "but on my first day, Tracey Pawlowski (a certified hyperbaric technician, C.H.T.) sat right beside the chamber to make sure I was comfortable." Eventually, he grew used to the therapy, and enjoyed interacting with the professional, friendly staff.

"My wounds are healed, and I'm very pleased with the results! I've already started recommending the Ingalls hyperbaric program to others."

A year later, the Riverdale resident says he's back on his feet and enjoying life with family and friends.

About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

In addition to wound care, hyperbaric therapy is used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injuries, gangrene, necrotizing soft-tissue infections, osteomyelitis and more. During therapy, a patient breathes pure oxygen while cradled in a special pressurized chamber, which allows greater amounts of oxygen to be carried to body tissues that need healing.

Ingalls Hyperbaric and Wound Center has performed more than 15,000 hyperbaric procedures, and has a greater-than-90% success rate.

For more information, call 708.915.5585.

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