Tissue repair, new blood vessel formation, resistance to infection and white blood cell bacterial killing are oxygen sensitive responses essential to normal wound healing.

Normal wound healing proceeds through an orderly sequence of steps involving:

  • control of infection
  • decreasing the inflammatory response around the wound
  • regeneration of the normal skin tissue matrix
  • new blood vessel formation
  • new skin formation

Several of these steps are critically dependent upon adequate blood supply and oxygen availability. The end result of this process is sustained healing.

Problem or chronic wounds are wounds that have failed to proceed through this orderly sequence of events and have failed to establish a sustained healed structure to the skin and tissues that were previously damaged under the skin.

This failure of wound healing is usually the result of one or more local wound or whole body factors inhibiting the normal tissue response to injury. These factors include persistent infection, poor blood supply, low oxygen (hypoxia) and cellular failure.

The hypoxic nature of all wounds has been demonstrated and the hypoxia, when increased (meaning even less oxygen), correlates with impaired wound healing and increased rates of wound infection.

Local oxygen tensions in the vicinity of the wound are approximately half the values observed in normal, non-wounded tissue. The rate at which normal wounds heal has been shown to be oxygen dependent.

The net result of serial hyperbaric oxygen exposures is:

  • improved immune response
  • clearance of infection
  • enhanced tissue growth and blood vessel formation

This all leads to progressive improvement in local tissue oxygenation and healing of problem wounds.