Necrotizing Infections

Necrotizing soft tissue infections involve bacterial invasion causing local tissue trauma, ischemia, and death. The infection may stem from diabetic foot infection, surgical wound infection, puncture wounds, and trauma like lawn mower accidents where dirt and debris is forced into the wound. Necrotizing infections are often associated with reduced body defenses from alcoholism, malnutrition, or drug abuse, and from underlying systemic disease, such as diabetes, cancers, and vasculopathy. Local tissue oxygen demand increases with growing infection, increasing the anaerobic environment. Oxygen tension below 30 mmHg impairs leukocyte ability to kill bacteria. A downward cycle continues.

Benefits From Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

  • Leukocytes can kill bacteria only when they have enough oxygen available to them. Improved oxygenation improves white cell function to clear bacteria. Organisms most affected by oxidation are those involved in abscess formation and wound infection. HBOT provides oxygen at the cellular level, promoting wound healing.
  • Increased Partial Pressures of Oxygen may decrease neutrophil adherence (white blood cells sticking to blood vessel linings) which damages the vessel linings.
  • Yagi (1987) reported that 62 out of 95 (65%) infected ischemic ulcers healed in response to HBO therapy.