Chronic Wound Treatment & Care at University Hospitals
The wound specialists at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute use a variety of advanced treatments to heal chronic wounds that are commonly found on the feet, ankles, heels and calves. With our vascular expertise, patients can reduce their risk of experiencing complications such as bone infection or even losing their limb.
A chronic, non-healing wound is a wound that does not improve after four weeks or does not heal in eight weeks. Chronic wounds may lead to uncomfortable symptoms and possible signs of wound infection such as increased pain, fever or chills, oozing from the wound, redness and warmth around the wound and an odor coming from the wound.
State-of-the-Art Treatments for Chronic Wounds at UH
Treating the underlying cause of a chronic wound is the main goal of treatment by our team at University Hospitals. Proper wound care such as taking anti-inflammatory medications when necessary, changing wound dressing regularly, keeping the wound clean and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent chronic wounds and promote proper wound healing.
With advanced treatments available at University Hospitals such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, our team can help with the healing of even the most complex wounds. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also called HBOT, you will breathe oxygen through a special head gear while inside a pressurized air treatment room.
The pressure in the treatment room will cause the oxygen to dissolve in your blood. With the extra oxygen, you’ll be able to minimize swelling, control infection and stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. This specialized therapy is typically paired with other treatments as a part of chronic wound care to promote healing.
If necessary, a wound specialist may recommend a surgical debridement to remove accumulated dead tissue and improve the blood flow and supply of nutrients to the wound.
Types of Chronic Wounds
There are a variety of chronic wounds that a patient may experience including:
- Infectious wounds: If the cause of a bacterial, fungal or viral infection is not treated with the correct medication, a wound will not heal properly in the expected time frame.
- Ischemic wounds: Ischemia occurs when there is a lack of sufficient blood supply in the wound area. This can delay or even prevent the healing process.
- Radiation poisoning wounds: Excessive exposure to radiation can weaken the immune system, damage exposed tissue and delay the healing time of a wound.
- Surgical wounds: If wound care was inadequate or the blood supply to the surgery area was damaged by accident, healing time of a wound can be delayed.
Recognizing Risk Factors for Chronic Wounds
If you have one or several of the following risk factors, you are at a higher risk of developing chronic wounds:
- AIDS or other chronic medical conditions
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- History of ulcers or multiple surgeries
- Occupations with long periods of sitting
- Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as poor diet, a lack of exercise and smoking
- Vascular disease such as atherosclerosis
- Weak immune system
Learn More about Advanced Wound Care at UH
If you would like to learn more about advanced wound care at University Hospitals, contact our team at a range of convenient locations.