ANALYSIS OF MEDICARE CLAIMS SHOW BENEFITS OF HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY FOR DIABETIC FOOT ULCER TREATMENT
[Washington, DC] [DATE] – Today the American Association for Wound Care Management (AAWCM) applauded a medical study conducted by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Analysis Group in Boston that found Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy can reduce the rate of major amputations among Medicare patients suffering from diabetic foot ulcers.
Researchers Dr. J. Bradford Rice and Dr. Lawrence Lavery divided patients into two groups to study the difference in the amputation rate of: (1) patients receiving HBO therapy; and (2) patients receiving advanced wound care (AWC), such as with cellular and tissue-based products or negative pressure wound therapy.
The sample consisted of 1868 patients who are 65 or older, with continuous, non-HMO enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B. Before the study began participants were matched through a scoring system accounting for demographic differences and wound characteristics prior to treatment.
Results found that the HBO group had approximately 33 percent fewer major amputations compared to the AWC group. A major amputation is defined as the loss of the limb above or below the knee. Of significance is the finding that the HBO group suffered from diabetic foot ulcers for a longer duration prior to treatment, which resulted in more severe ulcers.
“The importance of this study is that it analyzed Medicare’s own data and found that HBO therapy seems to reduce the risk of major amputation when used on patients with chronic, non-healing wounds, such as those resulting from diabetic complications,” said Dr. Lee Rogers, Medical Director of the Amputation Prevention Centers of America.
People with diabetes are particularly prone to foot related issues caused by neuropathy, which can result in sensation loss and impede blood flow, hindering the healing process. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the US. The association also notes that approximately 14-24 percent of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation.
AAWCM supports efforts to provide effective HBO treatment to diabetics to decrease diabetes-related amputations. The organization remains dedicated to enhancing understanding and acceptance of wound care treatments like HBO therapy.
“HBO therapy is often overlooked as a wound care option. This study indicates the value of further exploration,” Dr. Rogers continued.
About American Association for Wound Care Management (AAWCM)
AAWCM is a proactive champion of wound care whose mission is to enhance the understanding and acceptance of comprehensive wound care treatment and management. Since 1998, AAWCM has actively represented practitioners and organizations involved in the wound care field to promote the benefits of an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to wound healing. AAWCM speaks with one voice to regulatory organizations and medical associations on behalf of its members, to assure the continued recognition of the growing importance of wound care in medicine today.