The widespread use of HBO as an adjunctive treatment of diabetic foot ulcers has been founded on weak scientific evidence, but the consistency in positive outcomes in trials evaluating HBO on ulcer healing is noteworthy, not least as these results are in concert with data from in vitro and physiologic studies supporting the theoretical framework of HBO reversing hypoxia-induced abnormality. The long-term ulcer-healing rates of the nonrandomized controlled studies before the recent study by Margolis and colleagues, 77% with HBO versus 25% with standard treatment, are in concert with 1-year follow-up data from the 2 double-blind RCTs, 54% versus 25%. These 2 trials have put the use of HBO on firmer ground, but several issues, including health economics, developing robust selection criteria for treatment, optimizing treatment protocols, and identifying standards for when to start and stop treatment, remain to be elucidated. Not least, outcomes from further high-quality studies are needed. At present, HBO may be used as an adjunctive therapy in a select group of patients with diabetic foot ulcers that are difficult to heal.
Löndahl, , , , , , , , (2013). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as adjunctive treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The Medical clinics of North America, 2013 Sep;97(5):957-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23992903