With 2019 just beginning perhaps it’s time to start thinking about you and your health.
You can begin the year by actively looking to take on any ongoing health problems that have been a burden to you during the past year. This could be complications from a condition such as diabetic wounds, or perhaps you are recovering from cancer and have received radiation treatment that has come with some complications such as soft tissue damage.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can offer treatment for a range of conditions and has proven results in enabling people regain a quality of life they are looking for. People often try more mainstream approaches and sometimes they are successful and other times they may not be. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often seen as an alternative or even a last resort. However, this should not be the case as Wesley Hyperbaric is a long-established facility located in the Wesley Hospital precinct – operated by fully qualified medical professionals. The process is safe, friendly, proven and non-invasive – as such, it doesn’t need to be your last resort.
How does it work?
The process involves the patient sitting within a pressurised environment breathing 100 per cent oxygen. The patient experiences the same changes a diver would when diving to a depth of 14 metres. The highly oxygenated blood stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in a hypoxic wound, allowing quicker healing. Bacteria are also affected by the high levels of oxygen which also helps the healing process.
Take some time to read more about the conditions we treat and if you think you could benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy then seriously consider talking to your doctor or specialist on your next visit. If you need more information then please give us a call or email us.
We hope you have a healthy and happy 2019 and we look forward to continuing to offer a better quality of life to our patients.
Dr Graeme Kay explains the medical evidence behind what we can treat.
Doctor Graeme Kay is the director of a hyperbaric medicine facility. He has extensive post graduate medical experience and specialist credentials in primary care as well as diving and hyperbaric medicine. This makes him one of the most qualified and respected doctors for Hyperbaric Medicine in the region.
On a daily basis I am asked by patients who feel let down by the traditional medical establishment to treat their conditions. I almost never treat these people. I say almost because there is a role for research into treating conditions with novel therapies, but only under the guise of a formally structured research program with ethical consideration and approval.
The current flavours of condition outside my realm of accepted practice include autism, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease.
I imagine that people with these conditions seek my facility because they have exhausted what they feel traditional medicine can give them.
Unfortunately there is no shortage of unscrupulous traders out there, purveying their modern miracle magical cure.
It is possible to some degree to trace back in the literature when the current deviation from accepted practice occurred.
In 2001 a randomised sham-controlled study of 111 children with Cerebral palsy (CP) who received either 40 HBOT treatments at 1.75 ATA, or 40 air sessions at 1.3 ATA (Sham) was published.1 Both groups were found to improve in their outcome measures but with no difference between the groups. This was ascribed to a participation effect by the authors, a finding that was supported by an independent scientific advisory committee.2
There was a group within the hyperbaric medicine community, which is not supported by the community at large, that interpreted this result as an active effect of pressure, even as low as 1.3ATA which is the equivalent of 3m Salt water of pressure or 30kPa. A second sham controlled study was published in 2012 with 49 children with CP enrolled and randomised to receive 40 HBOT treatments at 1.5 ATA or 40 exposures of 1.5ATA breathing a 14% fraction of oxygen (resulting in an equivalent inspired fraction of 21%, thus eliminating the possibility of in increased inspired PO2 being attributable to any effect). Again this study found significant improvement in carer reported disability inventory but with no difference between either group.3
Similar studies for the use of HBOT for mild traumatic brain injury have been conducted. In all these studies there were reported improvements beyond that expected, but no discernible difference between treatment groups. Again a small proportion of the hyperbaric medicine community have attributed this result to a physiological effect from exposure to increased pressure, whilst the majority of the community considers the results to be that of a participation effect. 4,5
As such, the majority of hyperbaric physicians across the globe are of the opinion that delivering ‘mild hyperbaric’ treatments of 1.3ATA breathing air, concentrated oxygen or pure oxygen, has no actual physiological effect. It could be argued that at best, it is a misguided poor interpretation of the data currently available, at worst a wilful and duplicitous disregard for scientific method, being used as rationale for requesting payment for a treatment that is proven to have no benefit.
As credible hyperbaric medicine practice currently exists in Australia, a hyperbaric medicine facility must be a comprehensive hospital based hyperbaric unit with ability to treat all presentations up to and including ICU level of care, and rostered staff including a doctor with extensive training in diving and hyperbaric medicine and nursing staff also suitably trained available 24/7 in order to collect Medicare rebate and in turn access private health funds.6
As such, asking the following questions prior to undergoing hyperbaric treatments may help to sort the woo from fact:
Is the condition being treated one of the 14 conditions the UHMS recognises as benefiting from hyperbaric treatments?7
If not, does a logical and mechanism exist that has been supported by research in human, animal or in vitro models?
What sort of treatment is being provided? If it is less than 2ATA of pressure, and if less than 100% oxygen is being supplied, then there is no evidence that treatment has any efficacy.
Is the treatment being provided by a trained doctor and nursing staff? If not, the facility does not comply to the Australian standard 4774.2 and is not eligible for Medicare subsidy.
Am I being asked to pay out of pocket for treatment? The majority of Medicare compliant facilities exists as part of public hospitals and require no out of pocket payments. The private facilities that are Medicare Benefits Schedule and AS 4774.2 compliant access Medicare and private health funds for payment for most but not all 14 UHMS recommendations. As such there is usually no out of pocket expense other than any hospital admission co-pay that the patient has negotiated with their fund on joining plus an assessment fee.
By reviewing the above queries, you should be able to satisfy yourself that the services being provided are being applied in an evidence based manner, by trained healthcare staff operating ethically as bound by AHPRA, in a facility that is compliant to the appropriate industry standards to ensure treatments are provided as safely as possible.
Collett J-P, Vanasse M, Marois P, Amar M, Goldberg J, Lambert J, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen for children with cerebral pals: a randomised multicentre trial. Lancet 2001;357:582-6
Scientific Advisory Committee. Report Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with cerebral palsy: a multicentre randomised clinical trial. Quebec, Canada: Fonds dela recherche en santa du Quebec; 2000
Lacey DJ, Stolfi A, pilat LE. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on motor function in children with cerebral palsy. Ann Neurol. 2012;72:695-703
Harch PG, Andrews SR, Fogarty EF, Amen D, Pessullo JC, Lucarini J, et al. A phase 1 study of low pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy for blast induced post concussion syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. J Neurotrauma. 2012;29:168-85
Weaver LK, Cifu D, Hart B, Wolf G, Miller RS. Hyperbaric oxygen for post concussion syndrome: design of department of Defense clinical trials. Undersea hyperb Med 2012;39:807-14.
Surviving from cancer is a massive achievement for many. Today’s technology in radiotherapy makes treatment more effective and potentially less damaging due to the ability to focus on the area that needs to receive radiation. There is, of course, some instances where collateral damage occurs to tissue which can lead to complications occurring some time after treatment has completed.
For head and neck cancer sufferers who have undergone treatment using radiation there is a possibility of saliva gland damage, which causes a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth. This can negatively affect the patient’s quality of life, especially after surviving cancer. Xerostomia leaves people with a dry mouth and the inability to produce enough saliva which can cause difficulty with talking, eating and loss of taste resulting in poor nutrition, increased risk of dental decay and the inability to sleep well at night. And unfortunately, xerostomia can develop into an irreversible and life-long problem.
Wesley Hyperbaric wants to help alleviate these symptoms and is conducting a trial to help establish hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a viable treatment in patients suffering from xerostomia. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been successfully proven to help with soft tissue damage caused by radiation to other areas of the body, bringing hope that it can also be effective for salivary gland damage. Our trial will continue into 2019 to gain more information and produce evidence supporting the effectiveness of the treatment for the condition in the future.
Signs of xerostomia
Problems with eating, swallowing and talking continuously
Difficulty eating certain dry foods such as cereal
Denture issues such as fitting, sores or palate issues
Loss of taste
An increase in the need to drink water – especially at night
Dental and mouth issues such as inflammation, increased caries and ulcers.
Dr Ohnmar Aung, at Wesley Hyperbaric, is the principal investigator for this trial and is looking forward to helping more people suffering from Xerostomia. If you are interested in taking part in this trial, you will be able to help us gather scientific evidence and receive the treatment for free. All that is needed is that you have had radiation to the head and neck area and are now suffering from xerostomia and the ability to commit to taking part in a six-week program. You could be on the road to recovery as well as helping other people, in the future, who are suffering from the same conditions.
Please get in touch with us for more information on our services and to find out what the next steps are to take part in the trial.
If you or a loved one are one of the 1.2 million people every year who are diagnosed with an invasive cancer then the chances are this has come with a treatment with radiation. Whilst treatment has significantly improved over the years the resulting side effects can sometimes take its toll on the patient’s quality-of-life.
The radiation can sometimes cause complications with nutrients – including oxygen – from passing through the blood vessel walls. This lack of essential nutrients unfortunately hinder the healing of damaged tissues.
Here are some key facts about soft tissue radiation damage and hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
Occurs in less than 5% of people who undergo radiotherapy
Most commonly involves damage to the bladder or bowel
Most commonly noticed as blood in the urine and/or bowel movements
Randomized controlled trials have shown hyperbaric oxygen therapy can improve over 70% of people treated
Soft tissue radiation injury is the most common condition treated at Wesley Hyperbaric
The good news is that Wesley Hyperbaric has over two decades of experience treating people who suffer from soft tissue radiation injuries. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also proven to work most of the time.
So if you, or a loved one, are unfortunate to suffer from any of the conditions outlined above then we can definitely look at helping you get your life back on track. Get in contact today and find out what the next steps might be. Alternatively, speak to your GP or specialist about getting a referral.