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Hyperbaric-Oxygen Therapy May Help With More Than Diabetes Ulcers

A follow-up study has looked into long-term DM survival with hyperbaric-oxygen therapy…

A recent study was discussed at the annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting and served as a 6-year follow-up study to a 12-month study that showed a significant difference in ulcer healing rate between placebo and hyperbaric-oxygen therapy. This 6-year follow-up serves as a secondary endpoint to the randomized, double-blind, single-center, placebo-controlled study.

Diabetes patients who were ineligible for vascular surgery were eligible for the study and received 90 minutes of 100% hyperbaric-oxygen therapy per 5 days per week for 8 weeks. The placebo group was given hyperbaric air on a similar schedule.

Currently, there is some debate about the feasibility and usefulness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wound healing since it is very expensive and time-consuming.

The incidence of foot-related death in the hyperbaric-oxygen and placebo groups were the same at 14%. However, overall survival after 6 years was 63.2% in the hyperbaric-oxygen group versus 40.5% in the placebo group. This indicates hyperbaric-oxygen therapy may have a significant impact on long-term survival.

A total of 19 patients did not complete the study perhaps due to patient blinding or time. In fact, there was no significant difference in survival among patients who did not complete treatment over the 6-year follow-up.

For now, there is some definitive evidence showing the potential benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in diabetes patients. Nonetheless, cost, high-dropout rate and feasibility remain issues to resolve before the therapy is more mainstream.

Practice Pearls:

  • A 6-year follow-up study was done to evaluate the survival of diabetes patients given hyperbaric-oxygen or hyperbaric air therapy.
  • Researchers found overall survival was 63.2% in the hyperbaric-oxygen group versus 40.5% in the placebo group indicating hyperbaric-oxygen therapy may have a significant impact on long-term survival in diabetes patients.
  • Hyperbaric-oxygen therapy is expensive, time-consuming and the study had a high dropout rate. More research needs conducted to further evaluate advantages and disadvantages.

European Association for the Study of Diabetes 2015 Meeting. Stockholm, Sweden. Abstract 63, presented September 15, 2015. <http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/ViewAbstract.aspx?mID=3788&sKey=1ca1bf5b-66e0-4a12-9bac-2f62034abbe9&cKey=d984c818-8142-4189-9b99-d707091daeca&mKey=2bb00804-c880-450c-a19d-6b47d880fc09>.