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Wound Healing & Vascular Center

Our Wound & Vascular Center specializes in the treatment of problem wounds, a growing concern spurred by the aging of America and the increase in diabetes.

The wound care center is an outpatient, hospital-based service that works in conjunction with the patient’s primary care physician and specializes in the treatment of problem wounds. The wound care center uses an evidence-based practice approach to treating chronic wounds.

Dr. Jennifer Fletcher serves as the medical director of the program. Dr. Fletcher is assisted by a team of experienced wound care nurses and physicians, including Dr. Brian Albers, Dr. Duncan Hamilton, Dr. Andy Tran, Dr. Amy Jelinek and Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Robert McCready. Each provider coordinates an overall care plan for each patient. The majority of patients treated at the program do not require hyperbaric oxygen therapy; however, those who do receive the treatment have high healing rates because the process delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the blood stream and the area around the wound, which rapidly accelerates the healing process.

Hyperbaric Wound Care

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is used as an adjunctive treatment for problematic, non-healing wounds that meet specific criteria; it is expected that 10 to 20% of the wound care cases will do so. Throughout HBOT treatments, the patients are monitored to see if the concentration of oxygen has increased in the blood near the wound. If the oxygen level is higher, the therapy is most likely beneficial to the patient.

Wound Care at DCMH is the first HBOT provider in Southeastern Indiana. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy offers tremendous benefits to those who are appropriate candidates for the treatment. Most importantly, the treatment offers hope for those afflicted by diminished wound healing. HBOT works in wound healing by allowing the increased concentrations of oxygen in the blood to circulate and oxygenate wounds. It also increases the distance that oxygen molecules can travel from the vessels into the tissues. Research has demonstrated it can reduce edema, increase cell growth, the formation of new blood vessels, and enhances blood cells that help fight infections. HBOT treatments are typically twenty to thirty, 90-minute treatments over four to six weeks. Our monoplace chambers are made of clear acrylic which allows the patient to see outside the chamber. While in the chamber the patient will be monitored closely by our staff. Patients are able to communicate with staff via intercom and watch television during their treatment. Most patients find HBOT to be a relaxing treatment option for wound care.

During the treatments, the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber, quickly increasing the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, where it is delivered to a patient’s wound site for faster healing. Essentially, HBOT helps heal the wound from the inside out. This therapy can help reduce swelling, fight infection, and build new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue. It is also effective in fighting certain types of infections, improving circulation, in stimulating growth of new blood vessels, and in treating crush injuries, osteomyelitis, compromised skin grafts and flaps, brown recluse spider bites, and diabetic wounds of the lower extremities.

When is a wound care center helpful?

For most people, cuts and scratches heal within days or weeks. But for those whose natural healing process is hampered, a simple sore can become a complex medical problem requiring specialized care. The professional and caring staff at DCMH offer hope to patients whose wounds have been maintained for many years without healing. The incidence of chronic wounds is highest among the 8 percent of the total US population who are diabetic, which The Centers for Disease Control estimates at almost 24 million Americans. The literature suggests that approximately 15-25 percent of diabetic patients eventually develop foot ulcers.

For more information about the types of wounds that the Wound Healing & Vascular Center treats, please call 812-222-HEAL (4325).

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