DDRC Healthcare, Plymouth, Devon

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HBO & Necrotising Fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin. Whilst it is not very common it is a severe, fast-progressing infection that causes a lot of damage. It needs to be identified early and treated quickly. It tends to occur after a traumatic break in the skin such as small cuts, insect bites or burns. Factors such as being diabetic, smoking, obesity, alcoholism and intravenous drug abuse are risk factors for this occurring.

It usually presents with a pain that is out of proportion to what you can see in the area and this can be an early sign of deep infection. It may also become swollen very quickly.

Other symptoms that may occur are:

                Fever and chills                 Pain proceeding to numbness                 Blistering

Necrotising fasciitis is usually treated through intravenous antibiotics alongside surgical removal of the affected areas. In some cases affected limbs need to be amputated to prevent the spread of the infection, as it can develop very quickly.

How can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help?

Hyperbaric oxygen has been shown to provide benefit in the treatment of this condition alongside surgical treatment and antibiotics. Studies have shown it increases survival, reduces the amount of surgical intervention required and may reduce the need for amputation. It has also been shown to improve post-treatment outcomes as a result of this. In our unit we aim to give patients 2 treatments daily until the patient is stable and then treatment will either be reduced to 1 daily or stopped altogether.

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