Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
This week we sat down with internationally-known expert on the subject of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Dr. Helen Gelly. This treatment modality has been available to patients with poorly-healing wounds, thermal injuries, decompression sickness, late effects of radiation, and several other problems for decades. And while there is a quality body of evidence supporting the use of this treatment for clinically-appropriate patients, many of the patients who could benefit from access to it never get to know it’s available.
This is due in large part to the fact that of ~159 US medical colleges, only ~30 offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy and wound resolution as taught specialties. That means that approximately 85% of graduating physicians have had very little (if any) exposure to academic information about the modality. The result is that they often miss opportunities to add the treatment to the patient’s care plan, which in turn delays (or even prevents) these problem wounds from healing.
Dr. Gelly shared information about the history of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and we talked about the physiology of what’s happening during the course of therapy. We discussed a couple of major groups of patients whose clinical outcomes tend to be significantly improved with access to hyperbaric medicine, diabetic ulcer patients and patients experiencing persistent late effects of radiation. The aim is to get credible information to the public so that both physicians and patients in need can educate themselves about it. Atlanta is unique in that both inside the city and in numerous suburbs, patients can receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy in hospital-based or UHMS accredited free-standing programs. It’s also paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance companies for these evidence-based indications.
Dr. Helen Gelly, MD of HyperbaRXs
- Doctor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
- Internship/Residency: Pediatrics/Emergency Medicine at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals
- Board Certified in Emergency Medicine
- Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians
- Fellow of the American College of Certified Wound Specialists
- Subspecialty Certified Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine