Education

WOUND CARE - THE FACTS

Research proves the need and efficacy of dedicated wound care clinics. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates about 60,000 patients die as a direct result of a pressure ulcer each year.

  • More than 2.5 million patients develop pressure ulcers each year.
  • More than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people ages 20 years or older with diabetes.
  • Amputation risk for people with diabetes is significantly greater than that of the general population. 
  • Venous stasis (circulatory) ulcers affect up to 1 percent of people at some point.

Specialty wound care treatment facilities such as the STPH Clinic for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine have reduced amputation rates significantly and reduced the length of hospital stays. Call the clinic at (985) 871-6088 or ask your physician for a referral. The center accepts the same insurance plans as St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE

Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) is a narrowing of the arteries outside the heart that causes diminished blood flow.

Prevalence of P.A.D.

  • P.A.D. affects 8-12 million people in the United States
  • One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has P.A.D.
  • One in every 3 persons with Diabetes has P.A.D.

Risk Factors for P.A.D.

  • Tobacco use – Risk is four times greater for developing P.A.D.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Anyone older than 50
  • African Americans are twice as likely to have P.A.D.
  • Personal history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke risk is 3 times greater for developing P.A.D.

Early Signs and Symptoms of P.A.D.

  • Claudication – fatigue or cramping in leg muscles that occurs while walking or climbing stairs
  • Pain in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep
  • Sores or wounds on toes, feet or legs that heal slowly, poorly or not at all
  • Color changes in the skin on the feet, including paleness or blueness
  • Poor nail growth and decreased hair growth on toes and legs

The STPH SensiLase® System provides reliable, early and accurate detection of P.A.D. – even in patients with diabetes – by conducting rapid, noninvasive vascular assessments. The professional STPH wound care team performs two tests with the SensiLase® System:

  • Skin Perfusion Pressure to assess the very small vessels (microcirculation)
  • Pulse Volume Recording to assess the large arteries (macrocirculation)

Together, these tests quickly provide information about whether the blood flow in your legs, feet, toes or fingers is decreased or absent due to blockage or damage to your vascular system. This is very important, as small vessels or arteries that have become blocked or damaged may be the cause of wounds healing abnormally.

In addition to wound care, these results can be used to assist physicians in diagnosing any circulatory problems, such as peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.), and guide them in prescribing the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

Click here for a complete overview and more information on P.A.D.


DIABETIC FOOT ULCERS

What is a diabetic foot ulcer?
People with diabetes may develop open sores on their feet and these are referred to as diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcer usually is on the bottom of the foot and may or may not have pain, drainage or odor. Diabetic foot ulcers can lead to infection and hospitalization and are the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputation in the United States.

Diabetic foot ulcers may develop because of a number of reasons including friction, trauma, poor circulation and deformities. When a patient loses sensation in the foot (known as neuropathy) he/she cannot feel everyday things such as a rock in the shoe, trauma or excessive heat/cold, all of which may cause an ulcer to develop.

Prevention is Key!

Understanding ways to protect oneself is key to preventing the development of diabetic foot ulcers. Monitoring and maintaining appropriate glucose levels is very important. Follow your physician’s orders for checking glucose and taking prescribed medicine. Always wear properly fitting socks and shoes even indoors in the home. Clean, dry and inspect feet daily for any breaks or abnormality in the skin. Keep feet moisturized. Avoid other risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Attend regularly scheduled check-ups with your physician.

What to do if an ulcer develops?
Contact the STPH Clinic for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at (985) 871-6088 as soon as possible. Physicians and clinicians are specialist in the field of wound care and will begin a comprehensive individual treatment plan designed to maximize healing potential. The physician may use many of the tools available such as ultrasonic debridement, Sensilase® technology (to assess adequate blood flow), contacting casting (the gold standard in off-loading) and/or specialty dressings to immediately begin the healing process.

Click here for more information on diabetes or diabetic foot ulcers
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OSTEORADIONECROSIS

When large doses of radiation are received, damage to the blood supply and soft tissues can result in problems with bone healing. This is known as Osteoradionecrosis (ORN).

ORN is most commonly seen in the mandible or jaw bone and is associated with tooth extraction, trauma or oral surgery. By delivering oxygen under pressure, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help oxygenated blood get into the affected areas and promote a better chance for successful healing. Many oral surgeons recommend treatments prior to oral surgery and treatments following oral surgery to ensure the best wound healing environment.

The treatment plan for HBOT ORN is tailored to each patient, and the number of treatments will be based on individual needs. To learn more, download the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy brochure. For more information, please call (985) 871-6088 or email woundcare@stph.org.