Hard-to-heal wound finally improves with Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

Lance Trousdale gets ready to enter a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Lance Trousdale was starting to give up hope after living with a painful, tennis-ball-sized ulcer on his foot for the last year and a half. Unable to fight the infection on his own due to poor circulation caused by diabetes, Trousdale, 39, tried various ways to cope with the ulcer.

He has worked with several physicians to find a treatment plan that worked. After his primary care physician referred him to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the spot was nearly gone in a matter of weeks.

Patients with diabetes, like Trousdale, are often warned of the potential battle with foot issues when they are diagnosed. Throughout the last five years, Trousdale has struggled with amputations. After losing his big toe to a bone infection, the fear of it spreading further forced him to choose to amputate the rest of his toes.

The Surgical and Wound Care Clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital has two hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat patients like Trousdale with hard-to-heal wounds.

“He is breathing pure oxygen in the chamber, which is carried throughout his body through the blood to reach the deep-set wounds.” says John Kirby, MD, Washington University medical director of the Surgical and Wound Care Clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Hyperbaric oxygen delivers more oxygen to tissue, and has been found to improve the rates at which patients heal with difficult and complex wounds.”

Trousdale reclines in the chamber and watches TV every day for 90 minutes – an average treatment for wound care. For him, it’s worth it to make the nearly two-hour drive from his hometown of Norris City, Ill.

“I used to be a medic, making runs with the ambulance team, which is actually how I injured my toe in the first place” says Trousdale, whose former job was director of ambulatory services in White County. “So I know what to look for, and I know how important all of this technology is to help a person heal.”

Hyperbaric oxygen is one component of a comprehensive program for patients with difficult wounds. According to Dr. Kirby, Trousdale’s struggles with foot wounds will be life-long.

“Our Surgical and Wound Care Clinic is part of a coordinated program to see his wound through to healing, which may include further surgery to get this very chronic wound to heal,” says Dr. Kirby.

If you know someone with a wound that is slow to heal, encourage them to discuss this treatment option with their primary care physician. To learn more, visit our website.



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Category: Diabetes, Patient Stories

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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