Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone or bone marrow usually caused by bacteria, mycobacteria or fungi. It spreads through the blood and has been identified as one of the most common infections in humans.
It has three probable causes: by direct route, due to an open fracture, a surgery or some object that perforates the bone; for an infection transmitted through the blood (if another part of the body is infected); and by an infection in nearby areas, such as soft tissues or joint prostheses.
“When the bone becomes infected, the bone marrow, which is an internal soft tissue, becomes inflamed and presses against the outer wall. The blood vessels of the marrow undergo compression and the blood supply to the bone is reduced or interrupted. If blood does not flow properly there is a risk of bone necrosis, which is bone death”, explained Mariana Cannellotto, medical director of BioBarica.
The specialist indicated that, in terms of symptoms, “in children’s osteomyelitis is more common to manifest in long bones, while in adults it usually occurs in the feet, spine and hips, and pelvis.”
“High fever (above 38 °), chills, sweating or malaise are some of the most common symptoms. The patient can also lose weight or feel severe pain in the infected bone, which complicates their mobility. You can see localized inflammation, reddened and hot area”.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Cannellotto noted that several studies “help diagnose osteomyelitis”. An elevated level of leukocytes in a blood test indicates inflammation, but it is not conclusive, and radiographs, tomographies and resonances can show significant changes, identify infections and abscesses.
The expert commented that “in many cases the doctor requests analysis of pus, synovial fluid and bone to detect the microorganism that caused the infection.” She added that “the most usual treatment is with antibiotics for a long time and in some cases a surgical intervention may be necessary”.
“Now, different scientific studies show what are the benefits of treatment with hyperbaric oxygenation. The use of hyperbaric chamber produces a strong hyperoxia and as a consequence a greater availability of oxygen in the tissues triggering different physiological effects”.
Cannellotto said that “in the particular case of infections, it can stimulate the synthesis of collagen and new blood vessels, essential for repairing tissues, improving the oxygenation of tissues, increasing the bactericidal activity of white blood cells, which prevents or combats infections”. It reduces pain as it is anti-inflammatory.
“In addition, it preserves grafts of skin, flaps and other tissues in which the circulation is reduced and reverses the damage to tissues exposed by radiation therapy”, she said. The specialist explained that “the treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygenation (HBOT) is a non-invasive method that consists of supplying oxygen in high concentrations in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber at 1.4 atm ATM”.
She said that “inside the chamber the patient breathes 100% oxygen”, which means that “under these conditions, oxygen is transported through the blood, reaching, in greater concentration, all the tissues of the body, including those damaged”.
She also said that “hyperbaric oxygenation is beneficial to prevent some diseases” because “modulates the immune response (activates the defense system), promotes the secretion of serotonin (which is the body’s own antidepressant), induces a peaceful sleep and repairman, reduces stress by regulating the release of catecholamines adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine”.
“It provides energy and reduces the effects of tiredness, chronic fatigue, anxiety, so the body is healthier and less prone to infections”, she concluded.
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