Conservative treatments (whirlpool, topical ointments, various dressings and debridement) for the management of diabetic ulcers have been used with mixed results. Healing may be achieved at an accelerated rate if non-conservative treatments (cold laser, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, inhaled hyperbaric oxygen and topical hyperbaric oxygen) are added to standard management protocols. It has been demonstrated that topical hyperbaric oxygen (oxygen greater than normal atmospheric pressure) may be valuable in promoting and increasing the rate of wound healing. Due to the uniqueness of the diabetic ulcer, topical hyperbaric oxygen may be effective in ulcer management. In this three week experimental study, 5 subjects with ulcers (at or below the knee) and diagnosed with Type I or II diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. All subjects received whirlpool and debridement with the experimental group receiving additional treatment with topical hyperbaric oxygen (THO). It was found that the addition of THO to the conservative management protocol speeded the healing of the diabetic ulcer.
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