Monday, January 30, 2012

Football Injury Rehab: Bad Information Sparks Silly Debate About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Now that the Pro Bowl is over, most star NFL players can limp into the off season and head home to nurse their injuries. Many of them were lucky to make the final game at all. One of them, supposedly with the help of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, was Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. (See our December 18 post, "Off the Football Field and Into the Hyperbaric Chamber.") Earlier this month, local PBS affiliate WTTW spun the Forte story into an odd debate between wound care physicians at a community hospital and a major academic medical center. Click play to watch the video below. Read the full Chicago Tonight story here.

We have a few quibbles:

  • Forte likely self-administered mild hyperbaric therapy in a zip-up bag at home, not in a pressure-safe chamber at a hospital. Learn more about hyperbaric chamber types.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not indicated for the type of knee injury Forte suffered. Learn more about FDA clearance and UHMS approval.
  • University of Chicago wound care director Dr Lawrence Gottlieb seriously misrepresents the state of clinical evidence in the peer-reviewed medical literature on the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen for chronic wounds, diabetic ulcers, radiation injury, and associated infections. Learn more about diseases and conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen.
  • WTTW reporter Paris Schutz wrongly concludes that only community hospital wound centers use hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Consider local university-affiliated hospitals like Loyola, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago's own NorthShore system, and national academic powerhouses like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Virginia Mason.

We are grateful none the less for the link to the HyperbaricLink treatment center directory. On our website all interested readers will enjoy access to important clinical information and other reliable resources to set the record straight.

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