2004-08-20 / Community

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Introduces Hyperbaric Chamber

While a patient rests comfortably in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, he can read, watch television and converse.
While a patient rests comfortably in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, he can read, watch television and converse. An exciting advanced therapy has recently been introduced at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, South Shore, according to Penny Chin, a spokesperson for the hospital.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, often known as the treatment for decompression sickness in scuba divers, is also a widely recognized medical treatment for chronic non-healing wounds and soft tissue breakdowns caused by pressure, radiation treatment and other causes.

“We are very excited to bring hyperbaric oxygen therapy to our patients,” said Lloyd Bardfeld, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Medicine and Director of the Podiatric Residency Program at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. “At last, patients suffering from chronic diabetic foot and leg wounds now have a treatment that works, is convenient and pain-free.” With 35 years of expertise in the treatment of diabetic wounds, Dr. Bardfeld is the author of a chapter on the treatment of dermal ulcers for a book entitled “Collagenase” published by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Under his leadership, the Podiatry Department at St. John’s has been in the forefront in the treatment of diabetic wounds and ulcers.

He and Gilbert Makabali, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at St. John’s, direct the multi-disciplinary hyperbaric team.  The addition of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy to their treatment arsenal raises the Hospital’s wound services to state-of-the-art.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows the patient to breathe pure oxygen while lying comfortably in a pressurized chamber. Typically the pressure in the chamber is 2.5 times normal atmosphere pressure. St. John’s has two pressurized chambers.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat certain conditions approved by the Undersea  and Hyperbaric Medical Society. These conditions include chronic wounds associated with diabetes, especially in the leg or foot, poor circulation, radiation therapy, osteomyelitis, crush injuries, and the onset of gangrene. St. John’s hyperbaric team evaluates the patient for treatment eligibility, coordinates care with the referring physician, and manages insurance approvals.

One hundred percent oxygen delivered at a higher-than-normal pressure produces an increase in the amount of oxygen in the blood. This results in more life-giving oxygen in the organs and the body’s tissues. This improves the efficacy of certain antibiotics, activates white blood cells to fight infection, and promotes the healing process in chronic wounds.

The treatment is painless. For more information or to make an appointment for the Hyperbaric Therapy Program at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, please call 718-869-8306.

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