Wound healing, whether due to diabetes, radiation or other factors is a complex process. One key factor that impairs healing is a lack of oxygen (“hypoxia”) in the affected tissue, which can result from poor blood supply to the area.
Hypoxic tissues are slow to strengthen and more susceptible to infection. By restoring and improving oxygen delivery to the hypoxic regions of chronic wounds, healing can be supported and stimulated. Breathing oxygen at high pressure allows large quantities to be dissolved in the blood, such that the amount reaching the hypoxic tissues can be increased to 20 or more times its normal level. This has many positive benefits:
- It increases the distance oxygen can diffuse into damaged areas
- It reduces swelling (oedema) of the tissues, which allows more blood to reach the area
- It enhances the activity of white blood cells that fight infection
- It stimulates collagen cross-linking, strengthening the wound repair
- It stimulates new blood vessel formation
Together these mechanisms enhance and accelerate wound healing and reduce the chance of infection.