Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) is currently being used in the treatment of nonhealing or "problem" wounds of the lower extremities. In an attempt to evaluate the efficacy of HBO in problem wounds, a retrospective study of the HBO experience at Orlando Regional Medical Center was conducted. From 1989 to 1994, fifty-four patients with nonhealing lower extremity wounds resulting from underlying peripheral vascular disease and/or diabetes mellitus were treated with HBO. Wounds were grouped into the following five categories: (1) diabetic ulcers (n = 17 [31%]); (2) arterial insufficiency (n = 8 [15%]); (3) gangrenous lesions (n = 6 [11%]); (4) nonhealing amputation stumps (n = 13 [24%]); and (5) nonhealing operative wounds (n = 10 [19%]). Each patient received an average of 30 treatments. Outcomes for all 54 patients treated with HBO in this study were dismal. None of the patients experienced complete healing, six (11%) showed some improvement, 43 (80%) showed no improvement, and in five cases (9%) results were inconclusive because these patients underwent concomitant revascularization or amputation. Thirty-eight of the 43 patients who showed no improvement (88%) ultimately required at least one surgical procedure to treat their wounds. Thirty-four patients (63%) developed complications, most commonly barotrauma to the ears, which occurred in 23 patients (43%). The average cost of 30 HBO treatments was $14,000 excluding daily inpatient charges. Based on the experience with HBO therapy at Orlando Regional Medical Center and the paucity of good supporting literature, it is difficult to justify such an expensive, ineffective complication-prone treatment modality for problem extremity wounds.

Ciaravino, Friedell, Kammerlocher, , , , , , (1996). Is hyperbaric oxygen a useful adjunct in the management of problem lower extremity wounds? Annals of vascular surgery, 1996 Nov;10(6):558-62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8989972