There's good news for diabetes patients and others suffering from circulatory ailments. Regional Medical Center of Acadiana is weeks from opening a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy program.
It looks more like a space vessel than a medical instrument, but the hyperbaric chamber does wonders under pressure. There's a growing demand for the therapy in Acadiana and RMC is now home to three chambers.
"It will help get better results not only for us, but help them (patients) get better results from their surgeries and they'll get better outcomes," said Dr. Kyle Degeyter, M.D., director of the new facility. He says although it's an old method, doctors continue to learn more ways it can help patients. And it all boils down to life's necessity—oxygen, which helps the body heal from ailments faster.
"The oxygen gets pressurized double what it is on earth, so you get down to about two atmospheres of pressure," said DeGeyter. "At that pressure, more oxygen dissolves into the blood stream."
The "dive" as doctors call it, takes about two hours and patients benefit most from 20 to 30 sessions. It can help speed up recovery for chronic leg or foot wounds, gas gangrene, radiation tissue damage, skin grafts, crush injuries, and a host of bacterial infections.
And with a high rate of diabetes in Acadiana, Degeyter says it's a good treatment for the disease, especially those facing limb loss.
"It's going to give a new dimension to this facility and ability of this facility to be able to treat patients and salvage and preserve the function of their limbs," said Degeyter.
In just a few weeks, the facility will open its doors to patients and give the hospital another lifesaving tool.