Burns are a public health problem. The costs generated are high, so it is necessary to develop diagnostic and treatment guidelines to mitigate the effects on public health. In terms of its incidence worldwide, they can cause the death of up to 265,000 people a year.
Burns cause serious injuries to the skin and other tissues, which are devastating both physically and psychologically for the patient. A large number of cases suffer injuries that require admission to a specialized burn unit, being able to remain hospitalized for several days and up to a few months, depending on the severity.
The most common mechanisms of burn injuries are fire, which affects mostly adults and mainly in the upper extremities, the head and neck. However, in addition to heat and fire, they can be caused to a lesser extent by radiation, electricity, friction or contact with chemicals. Therapeutic measures aim to achieve the healing of wounds, the recovery of pigmentation and the restoration, as much as possible, of the quality of physical and psychological life prior to the burn.
When soft tissues, such as skin and muscles, are affected by burns, the blood flow in the damaged area is greatly reduced. As mentioned above, burns cause a localized lesion that is usually surrounded by normal tissue, including the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The reduction of the flow causes an area of edema and inflammation that radiates in all directions, even to distant tissues not affected by the burn. The swelling can extend deeply and affect muscles and peripheral skin, causing even greater damage than the initial injury.
HBOT can help by reducing swelling and edema. In addition, HBOT favors re-epithelialization, decreases hypoxia, prevents expansion and accelerates the healing of hypoxic and ischemic wounds. The availability of large amounts of oxygen that causes HBOT slows down the loss of fluids out of the blood vessels (extravasation) and reaches the initially damaged areas, allowing them to recovery from injuries. In this way it reduces the need for tissue removal (debridement, scarectomy) and even amputation. For these benefits to take place, the incorporation of HBOT must be as early as possible.
To gather more scientific evidence, BioBarica, the Hyperbaric Center Concepción del Uruguay and the ALCEC are working on a protocol called “Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy (HBOT) in recovery of radio induced burns in the acute period (QuemRI)”. The study was approved by the ethics committee and seeks to evaluate the synergistic effect of HBOT in association with conventional therapy over the course of 20 sessions on the evolution of wounds, the recovery and the duration of the suspensions of the radiant treatments for this cause. This study counts on the participation of Dr. Mariana Canelloto, president of the Argentine Association of Hyperbaric Medicine and Research (AAMHEI) as a researcher.
It is also being developed the protocol “Radiosensitization with Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy (HBOT)” to evaluate the adjuvant effect of reactive oxygen species in the increase of the effectiveness of radiotherapy and “Adjuvance with Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy in treatment of pain in patients with oncological diagnosis” to evaluate the effect of the hyperbaric chamber in the reduction of pain in patients with oncological diagnosis and pain treatment.
All the studies are randomized controlled and have the supervision of Dr. María Mercedes Pascuccio as principal investigator and the endorsement of the Argentine Association of Hyperbaric Medicine and Research.
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