Health Team

Rex Heals Wounds With Pressurized Oxygen

Posted February 1, 2007

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— To help patients with hard-to-heal injuries, Rex Hospital recently opened Wake County's first hyperbaric chambers.

Part of the new Rex Wound Healing Center, the hyperbaric chambers place a patient in a pressurized setting -- the pressure is equal to being at about 33 feet below sea level -- and deliver 100 percent oxygen to him or her.

"They call it a 'dive' because it's the same physiology of a diver actually going down underwater," said Dr. Jim Fogartie, a vascular surgeon at Rex.

Buddy Cagle comes sits in the hyperbaric chamber two hours a day, five days a week to help with his diabetes.

He's allowed to take only all-cotton blankets and a robe inside to prevent any spark, even static electricity, from starting a fire , and the technicians slowly decrease the pressure.

"It's like going and taking a nap," Cagle said of his treatments.

He has poor circulation in his feet, and cuts and bruises are slow to heal and sometimes become infected.

"I've had to lose the big toe on one foot and a small toe on the other foot," he said.

Cagle takes medication and has undergone bypass surgery to restore blood flow to the legs. But Fogartie said hyperbaric treatment will help with slow-healing wounds.

"By delivering 15 to 20 percent more oxygen to that tissue, we can see a rapid improvement and a rapid wound healing process," Fogartie said.

Cagle said he might have saved his toes if he'd had hyperbaric treatment sooner. A few weeks of treatment already seems to be making a difference, his wife said.

"It's been proven that it will heal those wounds, and so we're very optimistic about it and the way it's going right now," Nancy Cagle said.

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  • 68_polara Feb 8, 2007

    Well put there Stalin. I work for A living and I can't afford to support your dead beat butt.

  • wrathpower71 Feb 7, 2007

    Being the richest nation supposely in the world, for sure this would help millions in need. However, social status and financial brackets will determine who recieves it and who dont. Thats discrimination at its finest in my opinion. There are funds avaliable so that every person living in the USA can have health and dental care and still some left over. However, again thats not the focus. How can the richest nation NOT HAVE A NATIONAL HEALTH CARE AND DENTAL PLAN FOR ITS PEOPLE?
    All depends on the foucs and motives of the persons in charge and making the decisions.
    We are able to procue millions of luxury items by the minute yet cant help people to live healthy safer lives. Fundamentals of the life have been long lost and until those are the focus then the downward spiral will continue overall.
    What message are we sending to youths and future leaders about life? Life is about wealth or health? Cant have one without the other for sure. Ever scene a wealthy happy dead person?

  • alwayslovingu30 Feb 7, 2007

    Is insurance going to cover this procedure Iknow alot of people who could benefit from this or how many visits would they pay for.this sounds great but is it affordable to the poor

  • Christy Feb 5, 2007

    I am glad that this is available in Wake County now. This will provide a valuable, life altering service to many people. Patients who live in the Wake area would have had to travel to Duke for this treatment in the past.