A recent study has has shown that oxygen, apart from breathing life into lungs, also helps heal wounds. Prior studies have shown that oxygen plays an important role in helping the body heal, after injury. In fact, studies have shown treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber can help wound healing. However, hyperbaric therapy is expensive and there are doubts about whether or not it causes oxygen toxicity. The researchers of the new have now suggested a topical application of oxygen, which they speculate, might be easier to administer and have fewer unwanted side effects.
For their study, they tested topical oxygen application on 58 wounds in 32 patients, who were followed up between one to eight months after treatment ended. The oxygen was locally administered to the wound site through a gas-impermeable chamber applied around the affected wound. The treatment was carried out for 90-minute periods on four consecutive days, followed by three days of rest. The cycle was then repeated as long as the wound appeared to be healing or until surgery was performed to repair the site. Researchers found that 38 of the wounds healed while receiving the topical oxygen treatment and there were no complications. Another four healed after undergoing surgery to repair the wound, while eleven others did not heal, and three patients died during the study.
The researchers concluded that advantages of topical oxygen include convenience for the patients to receive treatment at home and minimal risks associated with use of the device. They believe that this large case report indicated a role for topical oxygen in the treatment of chronic or acute hard-to-heal wounds.