Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is emerging as an adjunct to traditional surgery and antibiotic therapy for these special
kinds of problem wounds. Some of the bacteria involved are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments. HBOT
inhibits anaerobic and some other bacteria from replicating, spreading, and releasing damaging toxins. Hyperbaric oxygen may
also boost the effect of antibiotics, enhance the body’s natural defenses against flesh-eating bacteria, and help resolve
or delay the onset of sepsis, a deadly blood poisoning.
Read the page
Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
in the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society resource library to learn more about flesh-eating disease, the rationale
for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and key clinical evidence, outcomes, and success factors.
Hyperbaric oxygen can be a potent bactericide and also treats the hypoxia at the root of soft tissue necrosis. One analysis
[ Undersea Hyperb. Med., 2005 ]
showed significantly fewer deaths and amputations with HBOT. As the
[ UHMS ]
With such strong case series evidence of reductions in morbidity and mortality for necrotizing
fasciitis and the subset of Fournier's Gangrene, it is difficult to envision ever seeing a controlled, double-blinded
study of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
In other words, considering the deadly seriousness of necrotizing infection and the
demonstrated effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, withholding treatment from a control group for comparative study would not be medically
or ethically acceptable. As antibiotics and other traditional weapons against these worrisome microscopic invaders begin
to weaken, HBOT provides a vital backstop.