Hyperbaric oxygen can be a potent bactericide and also treats the hypoxia at the root of osteomyelitis and surrounding soft tissue necrosis. The approved clinical indication is limited to refractory (persistent or recurring) bone infections that do not respond to accepted surgical and antibiotic treatment. UHMS guidelines recommend daily treatments of 90-120 minutes at 2.0-3.0 atmospheres of absolute pressure (ATA), starting soon after surgical debridement and continuing 4 to 6 weeks. Osteomyelitis, like necrotizing infections, involves some rather frightening germs. As antibiotics and other traditional weapons against these worrisome microscopic invaders begin to weaken, HBOT provides a vital backstop.
Who are these microbial troublemakers? Round up the usual suspects: MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, mixed with various fungi.
Our expanded page now includes many more suggestions and links to helpful patient and clinical resources. And we are especially fond of Sherwin B. Nuland's book, The Doctors' Plague, a must-read for anyone concerned about proper healthcare facility and staff hygiene.
[Image: bone 6 by chrisharvey from Fotolia.com]