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  • Actinomycosis
    Actinomycosis is a rare bacterial infection that happens when bacteria spreads through the body’s tissues. Left untreated can lead to abscesses, pain, and inflammation. Its effects can be localized or systemic, affecting organs and blood. Actinomycosis bacteria are common but rarely spread to healthy tissues and prefer to stay put. If the bacteria in an area are injured or shattered, they will spread to the new location. As the condition worsens, the deep tissue may become inflamed and pus-filled. This condition can result from abscesses, tissue death, cavities, and fibrous tissue masses. Because actinomycosis bacteria cannot live outside the human body and infections usually occur due to tissue damage, the disease cannot be passed from person to person. Causes Actinomycosis is caused by bacteria of the Actinomyces genus invading and colonizing damaged tissues throughout the body. Actinomyces bacteria can be found in nearly everyone’s mouth, throat, digestive tract, urinary tract, and genital tract lining. While inside the body, the bacteria are harmless, but if they escape, they can cause serious harm. Illness, injury, or surgically-induced tissue damage are all possible causes. Actinomycosis can also be caused by tooth decay and gum disease. As the tooth infection worsens, the abscesses multiply, and the infection and bacteria spread to the bone and tissue surrounding the tooth. Pus can even leak out of broken skin in severe cases. Types There are different types of actinomycosis, depending on the general area that is affected. One of the most common types affects the mouth or jaw area. Most cases, the bacteria that causes this will typically be found in dental plaque. This actinomycosis results from dental problems, like decay or poor oral hygiene, or from cases of trauma to the face or mouth resulting in particles of dental plaque entering the mucous membrane. Another type of actinomycoses infection happens in the lungs. This often happens when people breathe bacteria from the mouth and throat into their lungs. The symptoms tend to affect the lungs first, then extend to the areas around the lungs. Other types of actinomycosis affect the pelvic area and the abdomen. Symptoms Actinomycosis symptoms depend on the type that one experiences. They might include: Swelling and inflammation at the infected site Development of scar tissue following tissue damage Pus-filled lumps or abscesses Small holes or tunnels in the tissue. Actinomycosis can persist for a long time. as a result, long-term treatment with antibiotics might be necessary for actinomycoses treatment. Experts also recommend the use of hyperbaric oxygen to help with the infection. If you have any questions regarding the treatment for actinomycosis, be sure to reach out to our team at the Valley Hyperbaric Center.
  • Acute Carbon Monoxide Intoxication
    Since carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, it means that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen easily without being detected early. It is especially common in a situation where a fire or smoke affects up to 50,000 people across the United States every year, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Given the relative frequency of this kind of poisoning and its dangers, it is important to understand how to deal with it, especially in acute cases. Sources of Exposure Since the gas is colorless and odorless, the first thing to note when it comes to acute carbon monoxide intoxication would be the potential sources of the gas. Carbon monoxide comes from the incomplete combustion of gasses. Some of the most common sources would include: Poorly functioning heating systems Smoke inhalation in fires Fuel-burning devices that are improperly vented, including charcoal grills, heating stoves, or kerosene heaters Underground electrical fires might produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, seeping into the adjacent buildings. The use of hookah Open-air exposure to motorboat exhaust The ingestion of methylene chloride. This is an industrial solvent that is an important component of paint remover. How Carbon Monoxide Intoxication Occurs Acute carbon monoxide intoxication causes an impairment in the delivery of oxygen and its utilization and generation. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin, the cells responsible for binding to and transporting oxygen in the blood. This reduces the chances of oxygen delivery to the other cells and tissues. Furthermore, the presence of carbon monoxide in the tissues also impairs actual utilization. It is dangerous in tissues and organs that need oxygen, such as the heart and lungs. Common Symptoms It is crucial to note that the clinical presentation of acute carbon monoxide poisoning is very variable and nonspecific. A patient can present with very easy symptoms to misdiagnose or confuse with other acute viral syndromes. An important symptom in determining whether one has carbon monoxide poisoning is the transient loss of consciousness. However, other common symptoms include: Dizziness Headaches Nausea Weakness or malaise Confusion and difficulty in concentration Visual changes Shortness of breath The poisoning is considered acute when patients have neurologic symptoms like seizures or a transient loss of consciousness, metabolic issues like lactic acidosis, and cardiovascular issues like acute myocardial ischemia. Treatment An important treatment principle for patients that suffer acute carbon monoxide intoxication is the removal from the source of the carbon monoxide, followed by the provision of high-flow oxygen. This is why the hyperbaric chamber is an important solution. Contact us at Valley Hyperbaric Center to learn more about acute carbon monoxide intoxication.
  • Acute Peripheral Arterial Insufficiency
    When blood flow to the arteries is reduced, you could have arterial insufficiency. It happens when the blood vessels responsible for bringing oxygen-rich blood pumped from the heart to entire body cells become narrow or blocked. The common cause of arterial insufficiency is plaque buildup, also known as atherosclerosis, but a blood clot can also be a culprit. Types of Arterial Insufficiency The two main kinds of arterial insufficiency are: Acute arterial insufficiency: In this case, a blood clot abruptly stops or slows blood flow. You should treat this situation as a medical emergency. Chronic arterial insufficiency: An arterial insufficiency is considered chronic if another condition like atherosclerosis progressively slows blood flow. With time, arterial insufficiency symptoms worsen, and you have increased odds of getting complications. How Arterial Insufficiency Affects the Body Since arterial insufficiencies lower the blood flow reaching various body areas, including the major organs and limbs, your body will suffer differently. In most cases, how arterial insufficiency takes its toll on the body largely depends on blocked or narrowed arteries. Ultimately, this situation affects every area of the body. Symptoms may occur in areas close to the narrowed or blocked artery, or arterial insufficiency could occur in other parts away from the area showing symptoms. Arterial insufficiency can contribute to life-threatening emergencies such as: A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart Critical limb ischemia happens when the flow of blood to the legs, feet, or hands is blocked A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked Pulmonary embolism materializes when blood flow to the lungs is blocked. Signs and Symptoms of Arterial Insufficiency You should realize that some individuals never show symptoms until the arterial insufficiency advances far or contributes to a medical emergency. Other people have signs and symptoms such as: Feeling off balance or dizziness Changes in skin texture and color include itching, flaking, and skin discoloration on the feet and legs. Leg pain begins when indulging in activity and subsides when you rest, also known as intermittent claudication. Aching or burning sensation on feet or toes while resting You must talk to a medical practitioner about any symptoms relating to peripheral arterial insufficiency for prompt medical attention to avert serious consequences. Treatment Given that this emergency leads to high levels of discomfort, treatment should be swift and effective. One way of treating acute peripheral arterial insufficiency is via the hyperbaric oxygen chamber; this forces oxygen into the body’s tissues, enabling the body to work more efficiently in healing. Visit Valley Hyperbaric Center for treatment of acute peripheral arterial insufficiency.
  • Acute Traumatic Peripheral Ischemia
    Traumatic ischemia refers to a condition where there is an inadequate blood supply to the organs and body tissue as a result of severe physical injury. Some of the most common associated injuries include compartment syndrome and crush injuries. Crush injuries occur when the body tissues are severely traumatized, such as in motor vehicle accidents, falls, or even gunshot wounds. In most cases, these injuries tend to affect the extremities. When the crush injuries are severe, the chances of complications arising, including infection, the non-healing of fractures, and extreme circumstances requiring amputation, are high. Trauma to a limb leads to direct tissue damage and local hypoxia, leading to acute traumatic peripheral ischemia. How Acute Traumatic Peripheral Ischemia Happens Every organ and tissue has blood vessels that supply blood to it. It is this blood that then contains the nutrients and especially oxygen that is needed for cell metabolism. When traumatic injuries occur, those that affect the peripheral organs may contribute to bleeding into the tissues. This means that no blood is supplied, leading to hypoxia in the cells and an inability for the cells to maintain the metabolic demand they need to maintain the intra-cellular water. Hypoxia is when there are low oxygen levels in the body tissues. This results in low body water and, eventually, cell death, leading to further cell death in the surrounding tissues if left untreated. The focus when it comes to acute traumatic peripheral ischemia is to ensure that there is a restoration of the progressive flow of blood to the area. The Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy One of the most effective treatments for acute traumatic peripheral ischemia is the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. One of the most important ways through which this therapy works is that it enables changes at the cellular level. First, it produces vasoconstriction by up to 20%. This leads to a reduced inflow of blood. Still, given that the hyperbaric chamber increases oxygen concentration in the blood by up to 100%, the effect is a net increase in the amounts of oxygen received. This then results in less edema while also ensuring oxygen supply to the affected area. Trials conducted to test the effectiveness of this technique in improving outcomes for those suffering from acute traumatic peripheral ischemia have shown positive results. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps reduce swelling, increases blood supply to the affected tissues, and promotes healing. Do you have any questions about acute traumatic peripheral ischemia? Contact Valley Hyperbaric Center today for treatment or a consultation with our experts.
  • Chronic Refractory Osteomyelitis
    Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone or the bone marrow arising from pyogenic bacteria or mycobacteria. When osteomyelitis recurs, persists after appropriate interventions have been performed, or has not responded to any of the accepted management techniques, it is referred to as chronic refractory osteomyelitis. In most cases, osteomyelitis is difficult to treat, considering that there is a relative lack of blood vessels in bone and that most antimicrobials do not penetrate bone well. Osteomyelitis that persists for a lengthy period can be dangerous if not treated adequately. Patients who present with osteomyelitis to the spine, skull, or sternum, in particular, tend to have an increased danger of morbidity and mortality from this infection. Causes The staphylococcus bacteria cause most cases of osteomyelitis. These are a type of germs that are commonly present on the skin or the nose of healthy individuals. However, when they enter the bone, they can be dangerous. Germs tend to enter the bone in a variety of ways. Blood: Germs can enter the bone via the bloodstream, such as those from the lungs. Germs from pneumonia or in the bladder can also reach the bone areas after a urinary tract infection. They can get into the bone via a weakened spot. Injuries: Severe puncture wounds can carry germs deep into the body. The germs will feast on the nearby bone if such wounds get infected. Furthermore, germs can enter the body if one has an injury so severe that a part of the bone might be sticking out through the skin. Surgery: Another path that the germs can use to enter the bone is through or after surgery. Contamination with germs can easily occur during surgeries when replacing joints or repairing fractures. Several risk factors increase the likelihood of having chronic respiratory osteomyelitis. A big risk factor is an age. Bones are typically resistant to infection, but this tends to change when one grows older. Other risk factors include recent injuries or orthopedic surgery, circulation disorders, and problems with catheters or intravenous lines. The use of illicit drugs and conditions that lead to the impairment of the immune system, like cancer treatment, diabetes, or steroidal drugs, can also increase the odds of developing chronic refractory osteomyelitis. Chronic myelitis symptoms include fever, pain in the area infected, fatigue, and cases of swelling, warmth, and redness over the area of infection. In some cases, osteomyelitis can cause no symptoms, or the symptoms might be difficult to differentiate from others. Contact Valley Hyperbaric Center if you suspect chronic refractory osteomyelitis, whether acute or chronic.
  • Crush Injuries And Wound Suturing
    During the period following Crush injuries and the wound suturing, especially when it involves severed limbs, the most important aspect to focus on is wound healing. An important element of wound healing is the consistent supply of oxygen. Most of the core functions that are involved in the process of wound healing depend on oxygen for success. This is why the increase in oxygen concentration and supply can be useful in improving the rate at which wound healing happens. This is where hyperbaric oxygen therapy comes in. What Happens if Wounded Tissues Are Deprived of Oxygen? Under normal circumstances, oxygen can only make its way through the blood within the red blood cells. When the red blood cell count is low, or the blood cannot circulate properly, the tissues are deprived of the oxygen they need to produce the energy required. The healing process might slow down or even come to a complete halt. At this stage, it would not be enough to inhale oxygen. The body requires the kind of concentrated oxygen flow that can only be provided through the hyperbaric chamber. Advantages of the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy The wound healing required following the suturing of severed limbs or after Crush injuries benefits from hyperbaric oxygen therapy in multiple ways. First, the therapy improves wound healing by bringing oxygen-rich blood to the tissues previously starved of oxygen. Injuries like Crush injuries damage the body’s blood vessels, releasing fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling that deprives the cells of oxygen, leading to cell death. The higher pressure associated with the hyperbaric oxygen chamber increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, breaking the dangerous cycle that leads to tissue and cell death. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber also prevents reperfusion injury. When the tissues are deprived of oxygen, they will likely die. However, when blood flow is restored, another injury might occur, referred to as reperfusion injury, associated with restoring blood to the affected area. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy prevents this and encourages the healing process to continue. Further, the hyperbaric oxygen therapy process has been known to improve antibacterial properties. When the body is flooded with oxygen, the antibacterial aspects of the body’s defense system are activated. Furthermore, this therapy has high synergy with antibiotics because it enhances the leukocytes that help kill dangerous bacteria. If you have questions about wound healing, the processes after suturing severed limbs, or Crush injuries, contact Valley Hyperbaric Center today.
  • Cyanide Poisoning
    Cyanide is a substance that can exist in numerous forms. It can be a deadly, colorless gas when in the form of hydrogen cyanide or crystal form when mixed with sodium or potassium. Most people who have experienced cyanide poisoning describe it as having a bitter almond taste. It, however, does not always give off an odor, and even when it does, not everyone can detect the smell. Cyanide, in real life, can be found in the most surprising places. For instance, it has been known to exist in many plant foods considered safe to eat, including lima beans, soy, almonds, and spinach. It is a by-product of metabolism in the human body and is exhaled in very low amounts with every breath. However, the deadly forms of cyanide are sodium, potassium, and hydrogen cyanide, as well as cyanogen chloride. How Cyanide Works and How It Leads to Poisoning The extent of the poisoning and the following poisoning treatment depends on the amounts of cyanide one ingests or is exposed to. It also depends on the route through which the exposure or ingestion happened and the length of time that the person is exposed—in most cases, breathing cyanide gas results in the most harm from cyanide poisoning. Cyanide works by preventing the body’s cells from using oxygen, which means the cells die. Therefore, cyanide toxicity treatment focuses on preventing or reversing this process. Given that the heart and brain use up a lot of oxygen, it will be most dangerous to these two organs than the cells of any other areas of the body. Signs and Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning When exposed to small amounts of cyanide through breathing it, absorption through the skin, or after eating foods that contain cyanide, one might experience the following symptoms. Dizziness Nausea and vomiting A rapid heart rate Restlessness Weakness Rapid breathing Large amounts of cyanide, however, have more serious consequences. These include such symptoms as convulsions, low blood pressure, lung injuries, a slow heart rate, loss of consciousness, and respiratory failure that then leads to death. There are also longer-term effects associated with cyanide poisoning, including heart, brain, and nerve damage. Treatment Cyanide poisoning is treated with several specific antidotes, with most people often ending up needing supportive management and care in a hospital setting. Hyperbaric treatment has also been identified as a useful cyanide poisoning treatment mechanism. The antidotes will be most useful if given as soon as possible after exposure. If you suspect you have been exposed to cyanide or are experiencing some of the mentioned symptoms, reach out to the Valley Hyperbaric Center for medical assistance. Contact us today!
  • Decompression Illness
    Many people call it the bends or Caisson disease, but the medically accepted term is decompression sickness. This sickness results from a rapid change from a high-pressure environment to one of lower pressure. This change in pressure in the surrounding environment causes a physiological response in the body. It is common in pilots of unpressurized aircraft, divers, and caisson workers. This is because their jobs subject them to pressures that are different from those of normal atmospheric pressures. How Compression Sickness Happens At atmospheric pressure, the fluids in the body and the tissues contain some small amounts of gasses in the air. Dissolved gasses tend to come out of the solution when the external pressure is reduced. If the return to the normal pressure situation is slow enough, the gasses have time to diffuse from the bloodstream again into the tissues. Here, the gasses will pass through the respiratory tract and exhale from the body. However, if the change to the normal pressure environment is faster, when then happens is the gasses form bubbles in the tissue. The main component of the gasses that form these bubbles is nitrogen. The cells breathe in and use the oxygen, while the carbon dioxide is expelled and breathed out. Nitrogen, on the other hand, simply accumulates in the tissue. Symptoms The symptoms vary depending on the place where the bubbles develop. Decompression sickness symptoms include paralysis and convulsions in situations where the bubbles form in the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nervous system; other symptoms include difficulties with muscle coordination and sensory issues or abnormalities. People may also experience numbness, speech defects, and personality changes. If the bubbles accumulate in the joints, it can lead to severe debilitating pain and restrict the person’s mobility. This is how the term “bends” was coined, owing to the resultant inability of someone to straighten their joints. If the bubbles form in small amounts under the skin, they can form a red rash and itching sensation. These symptoms typically pass on their own in approximately 20 minutes. If the bubbles form in the respiratory system, the symptoms may include excessive coughing and difficulty breathing; a situation referred to as the chokes. Other symptoms include chest pain and a burning sensation when breathing. Treatment Relief from the symptoms of decompression illness is often achieved only through recompression. This is often achieved by putting the individual in a hyperbaric chamber. A slow process of decompression then follows the recompression. However, this might not be able to reverse the tissue damage. To find out about decompression illness, contact Valley Hyperbaric Center today!
  • Diabetic Wounds
    Diabetes patients are more likely to develop ulcers and sores. These diabetic wounds do not heal properly or as fast as they should. Diabetic ulcers most commonly appear on the feet and legs, but they can appear anywhere the skin is broken, such as the hands or stomach creases. People with diabetes frequently have wounds that take too long to heal, heal incorrectly, or do not heal. Without proper treatment, diabetes patients are likely to contract a dangerous infection. Furthermore, even if an infection does not develop, slow wound healing can harm a person’s health and well-being. Injury to the feet or legs can make walking painful and exercise difficult. The Link between Diabetes and Wound Healing Scientific studies have established a link between diabetes and wound healing. Insulin, a hormone that allows cells to take glucose from the bloodstream and use it as energy, is impaired in diabetics, either in production or as a response to glucose. Controlling blood sugar levels in the body becomes more difficult due to this insulin disruption. Consistently high blood glucose levels reduce the immune system’s effectiveness. White blood also cells are crucial for the immune system. When blood flow is slowed due to uncontrolled diabetes, the body finds it more difficult to supply wounds with the nutrients they require to heal fast. As a result, the white blood cell function is impaired, thus inhibiting the body’s ability to fight infection and heal wounds. This means the diabetic leg ulcers more slowly, if at all. Problems with Diabetes-Related Wounds The slow wound-healing effects of diabetes lead to a wide range of additional issues. For instance, people have been known to develop heart, kidney, or eye problems. Furthermore, if left untreated, an infected wound can easily spread to the nearby muscle and bone, a condition referred to as osteomyelitis. Furthermore, when a wound becomes infected and is not treated promptly, it can become a gangrenous mess. This is the reason why many diabetes patients end up having to have their limbs amputated due to gangrene frequently. Furthermore, the slow-healing wounds can easily lead to sepsis if the infection enters the bloodstream. Sepsis can be life-threatening if not detected early and managed correctly. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Wounds caused by diabetes that do not heal alone can now be treated in hyperbaric oxygen chambers. The goal of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to increase hemoglobin oxygen saturation in the patient. Increased blood flow to the injured area aids in healing. If you struggle with slow-healing wounds due to diabetes, contact our experts at the Valley Hyperbaric Center for treatment.
  • Gas Embolism
    An air embolism or gas embolism occurs when air bubbles enter a vein or artery and cause a blockage. When a bubble of air travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a vein, it is called a venous air embolism. A bubble of air enters an artery and causes an arterial air embolism. If these air bubbles reach the brain or heart, they can cause a heart attack, stroke, or respiratory failure. Emboli in the air are extremely rare. Causes of Air Embolism When your veins or arteries are broken or otherwise compromised, air can enter under pressure and cause an arterial gas embolism, a potentially fatal condition. This can happen through a variety of mechanisms. Injections and Surgical Procedures: Unintentional air injection can occur using an IV or syringe. Air can also be introduced into your veins or arteries using a catheter. There is a chance that air will enter your bloodstream during surgery. This is common during brain operations. An air embolism can occur in up to 80% of all brain surgeries. Lung Trauma: An air embolism can result from a lung injury. Doctors can use a breathing ventilator to force air into a damaged vein or artery if the lung has been compromised, such as an accident victim. Scuba Diving: Air embolisms can affect scuba divers. This can occur if you stay underwater for an extended period without breathing or return to the surface too quickly after diving. These actions can cause damage to the alveoli or air sacs in the lungs. If the alveoli rupture, allowing air into the arterial system, an air embolism can occur. Explosions and Blast Injuries: A bomb or blast explosion can cause serious injuries, including artery and vein rupture. In violent encounters, these wounds are more common. Because of the blast’s intensity, air may be sucked into broken blood vessels. Blowing Into the Vagina: An air embolism can occur if the partner blows air into the vagina. An air embolism requires a tear or injury to the vaginal or uterine wall. Pregnant women are at a higher risk due to the increased possibility of a placental tear. Symptoms A minor air embolism may result in very mild symptoms and some cases, might not even result in any symptoms at all. However, severe cases of gas embolism can result in the following: Chest pain or heart failure Muscle or joint pains Low blood pressure Mental status changes like confusion and a loss of consciousness Stroke Difficulty breathing or heart failure Treatment If possible, the doctor will remove the embolism through surgery. However, another arterial gas embolism treatment option is the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Valley Hyperbaric Center.
  • Gas Gangrene
    Gangrene refers to the death of body tissue from a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection. Gas gangrene affects parts like the arms, legs, toes, and fingers. It can also occur in the muscles and organs inside the body, such as the gallbladder. Conditions that affect the blood vessels or the general flow of blood can also worsen gas gangrene. Types of Gas Gangrene There are several different types of gas gangrene depending on their levels of severity and how they are caused. For instance, clostridial myonecrosis or clostridial gas gangrene is a type of gas gangrene that is fast spreading and potentially life-threatening. The clostridium bacteria cause it. Even though most gangrene infections happen where the open wounds from an injury or surgery are exposed to bacteria, non-traumatic gas gangrene, a rarer form of gas gangrene, can develop when the blood flow to the tissues is compromised the bacteria get inside. Symptoms Common gas gangrene symptoms include air under the skin, an increased heart rate, and fever. The skin in the affected areas might also become pale and later change to dark red or purple. The symptoms develop between 6 to 48 hours after the infection and can spread and progress very quickly. Other symptoms of gas gangrene include: Pain in the area around the wound Swelling in the area around the wound Excessive sweating Vomiting Yellow skin and jaundiced eyes Blisters that have a foul-smelling discharge Pale skin that later quickly turns gray, purple, dark red, or black. The condition spreads very fast, and one can easily see changes in the affected area’s skin in a matter of minutes. If the germs that caused the gangrene spread quickly through the body, it is likely to cause septic shock. The signs and symptoms of septic shock include low blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, confusion, and fever. Diagnosis A gas gangrene diagnosis by a doctor can happen after a physical exam and some tests. Some tests include a skin culture, which is especially common when testing for the presence of such bacteria as clostridium perfringens. Imaging tests like X-rays are also commonly used to visualize tissues. Surgeries can also be used to evaluate the spread of the disease. Treatment Since gangrene spreads quickly, it should be treated as an emergency issue. Once the diagnosis is made, high doses of antibiotic drugs can be administered intravenously for gas gangrene treatment. Doctors can also treat gas gangrene through the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Visit Valley Hyperbaric Center if you have symptoms resembling those of gas gangrene.
  • Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
    Hearing is among the five senses and is central to enabling us to communicate, work, and socialize with other people. Hearing is also key to people’s awareness of the environment they need to survive and stay safe, as it helps us detect potential dangers. It is important to note that hearing, like many other senses, tends to dull with age. Non-Age-Related Hearing Loss Slow hearing loss in both ears is a natural part of aging for many over 60. However, hearing losses do not always come with age. In some cases, younger individuals have reported a rapid loss of hearing loss. Even though they are older, rapid hearing loss in people between 40 and 50 is not natural. The loss of hearing is not just about the hearing per se. Rapid hearing loss can be scary and destabilizing as it chips away at your independence, especially given that your vestibular organ, which provides a sense of balance, is located in the ear. When the hearing loss happens in a matter of days, the most likely reason will be idiopathic abrupt sensorineural hearing loss. What is Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss? Scientists describe idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as the abrupt, unexplained hearing loss of at least 30 decibels or more. It is a phenomenon that can either happen at once or in a few days. It is also referred to as sudden deafness, and in most cases, it only occurs in one ear. A loud popping sound mostly precedes idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention if one is to have their hearing restored or the situation remedied. This sudden hearing loss is often more pronounced in the morning when one wakes up or in specific situations, like when one tries to use the affected ear to make or listen to a phone call. Other accompanying signs include: Dizziness Loss of balance Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Most people may associate these symptoms with conditions like sinusitis or allergies, hoping they go away on their own. However, if you experience such symptoms, it is paramount to seek prompt care to ensure better outcomes. Treatment Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss is common and results in a significant drop in the quality of life. An effective treatment is using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which may improve the supply of oxygen to the inner ear and improve hearing. Contact Valley Hyperbaric Center for help with a sudden loss of hearing.
  • Osteoradionecrosis
    Osteoradionecrosis is an unusual complication that results from radiation therapy to the head and neck area. It is a complication that almost always leads to bone death. Radiation therapy is a potent treatment for cancerous cells; however, it also affects healthy cells and tissue. Osteoradionecrosis happens when enough healthy cells in the jawbone are damaged, such that there is a decrease in the supply of blood or essential nutrients to the area. The osteoradionecrosis ICD 10 code is M87.180. Bones require a constant supply of nutrients and blood. If this support is compromised, then it can easily result in the death of that particular section of the bone. Diagnosis of Osteoradionecrosis Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw is one of the most dreaded complications of head and neck radiation therapy. Despite the evolution in medical techniques and technologies, osteoradionecrosis remains a challenge, especially given that some aspects are yet to be fully understood. However, medical professionals agree that the following criteria should be met for one to be judged to have osteoradionecrosis: The area affected should be within the head and neck radiation field The overlying bone should be dead or necrotic A failure to heal happens, leading to the bone exposure The bone exposure lasts for a minimum of 3 months There is no recurrent tumor or metastases on the affected site. Osteoradionecrosis Risk Factors A strong risk factor for the development of osteoradionecrosis is the case of dental-alveolar surgery after radiation therapy. Many osteoradionecrosis cases happen after the trauma that follows such dental surgical cases as dental extractions and implantations. Another well-recognized risk factor for the development of osteoradionecrosis is the osteoradionecrosis radiation dose. The higher the radiation therapy dose, the higher the chances of developing osteoradionecrosis. Stages of Osteoradionecrosis Stage I of osteoradionecrosis is confined to the alveolar bone. Stage II is limited to the alveolar bone and above the levels of the inferior alveolar canal. Stage III of osteoradionecrosis targets the lower part of the inferior alveolar canal, with fistula or bone fracture. Dangers of Osteoradionecrosis After the section of the jaw dies, what then happens is the jaw begins to deteriorate and weaken. Minor trauma, such as dental surgery or other procedures that might have targeted the head and neck area, may further exacerbate the weakness and result in pain. Furthermore, the jawbone can easily become exposed to the mouth or facial skin. The weakness that comes from osteoradionecrosis might even lead to jaw fracture. If the damage is mild or moderate, it can be treated through oral surgery. However, more severe cases might require bone replacement surgery. Consult Valley Hyperbaric Center to find out more about osteoradionecrosis or get treatment for the same.
  • Progressive Necrotizing Infections
    What are progressive necrotizing infections? They are a collection of diseases that are rapidly progressive and tend to result in soft tissue inflammation and necrosis. They range from diseases that involve necrosis of the skin to life-threatening infections of the fascia and muscles. Their variations are based on differences in the necrotizing fasciitis causes, including the anatomic location, the offending bacteria, and the levels of involvement. Presentation and Diagnosis The presentation of these progressive necrotizing infections varies, depending on the type of infection. In most cases, these diseases will start with localized pain and a benign appearance. Other signs that might point to the presence of these diseases include: A clear bronzing of the skin or dermal gangrene. Late signs including fever and shock Once the large blisters and gangrene develop, it is a sure sign that the infection is already at an advanced stage. Given how dangerous these infections are, early detection is key to their management. Multiple risk factors increase the probability of the development of a life-threatening infection. These include co-morbid conditions like: Diabetes mellitus Development of peripheral vascular disease Immunocompromised state that comes from such diseases as AIDS or from steroid therapy, malnutrition, or malignancy In urban settings, the most common risk factors include intravenous and subcutaneous drug use or the injection of illicit substances. In the past, surveys have found that a significant portion of patients that suffered from these progressive necrotizing infections was also practicing drug use. The most common etiologies include post-operative complications with wounds, blunt and penetrating trauma, intravenous or subcutaneous injection of illicit substances, strangulated hernias, peri-rectal abscesses, and other idiopathic causes. Treatment When one presents with necrotizing fasciitis symptoms, they have to be treated as a potentially life-threatening emergency. Prompt necrotizing fasciitis diagnosis is essential. In most cases, treatment involves the use of a unified approach, which includes anti-microbial therapy, resuscitation, surgical debridement, and the provision of supportive care. An aggressive form of resuscitative measures has to be taken whose focus is to ensure that fluid, electrolyte, and hemodynamic stability is achieved. Antimicrobial treatment for necrotizing fasciitis involves the use of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy and treatment. Furthermore, surgical debridement is important necrotizing fasciitis treatment and has to be performed early and aggressively, especially if the patient is in septic shock or where the patient’s blood pressure has dropped to dangerously low levels. Another particularly potent treatment regime involves the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This involves the administration of 100% oxygen in a pressure chamber, with pressures above an absolute value of one atmosphere. This treatment has been known to reduce mortality and morbidity. Learn more about progressive necrotizing infections and treatments at Valley Hyperbaric Center. Book an appointment today!
  • Skin Graft
    Skin grafting is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting skin from one part of the body to cover another part of the body. Skin grafting candidates are individuals who have lost skin due to burns, injury, or illness. Skin graft surgery is typically performed in a hospital, where in most cases, the patient is under anesthesia and is completely pain-free and unconscious. Why Skin Grafts Are Done Skin grafts are done for a wide range of reasons. Mostly, the graft will be placed over an area of the body where the skin has been lost. Some of the reasons for the loss of skin and the placement of grafts include: Treatment of deep burns Removal of lesions in the case of a skin disease Treating pressure injuries or bedsores, as well as other ulcers in the skin that are yet to heal well Surgery after skin cancer Closing of large, open wounds Types of Skin Grafts There are two different basic types of skin grafts, and they are full-thickness grafts and split-thickness grafts. Split-thickness Grafts A split-thickness graft requires the removal of both the epidermis and a section of the dermis. These are the layers removed by the surgeon from the donor site. Split-thickness skin grafts are commonly taken from the anterior or external thigh, abdominal wall, buttocks, or back. Surgeons can replace larger areas of damaged skin with split-thickness grafts. These grafts appear fragile and have a glossy or smooth finish. They may also appear paler than the surrounding skin. Because grafted skin does not grow as quickly as an ungrafted, children who receive split-thickness grafts may require additional grafts as they mature. Full Thickness Grafts Normal skin is usually taken from the patient’s abdomen, groin, forearm, or the area above the clavicle, known as the collarbone. Because the donor site is typically pulled together and closed in a straight line by the surgeon, the grafts are typically smaller pieces of skin. Doctors frequently use full-thickness skin grafting for burns to treat small wounds in highly visible areas of the body, such as the face. Full-thickness grafts have a better cosmetic outcome than split-thickness grafts because they blend in with the surrounding skin. Treatment and Healing The recipient might be placed under hyperbaric oxygen therapy to enhance the healing of a skin graft site after skin graft surgery. This involves the placement of the patient in a high oxygen concentration environment at high pressure. The extra oxygen supply helps the body build new blood vessels, which then enhances the damaged tissue’s healing and helps fight infection. Contact Valley Hyperbaric Center if you have a condition that might require skin grafting near you.
  • Soft Tissue Radionecrosis
    Soft tissue radionecrosis happens when radiation therapy kills the soft tissue, making it unable to regenerate again. The cells that have a high turnover rate divide at a faster rate, but they tend to have more sensitivity to radiation. Therefore, they are more likely to be damaged than cells that are not undergoing division of any kind. The result is hypoxia in the tissues that cannot regrow, leading to necrosis. How Radiation Therapy Works Radiation damage focuses on the cell at the DNA level, with the aim being to ensure that the damage to the cell DNA is severe enough that the cells will not be able to recover. In the case of cancerous cells, this should be the desired effect of the radiation. This is why radiation is useful in soft tissue sarcoma treatment. Effects of Radiation Therapy on Soft Tissue When the radiation affects normal cells, undesirable changes are likely to happen at the tissue level. Soft tissue radionecrosis is a critical medical issue. In the US alone, up to 1.2 million invasive cancers and cancerous sarcomas are diagnosed yearly. About half of these patients will receive radiation therapy to help manage cancer. Out of these, nearly 5% of patients will develop significant after-effects. It is imperative to realize that many effects are delayed and depend on the level of radiation therapy that one receives, the targeted tissue for the radiation, and the type of ionization radiation. Examples of Soft Tissue Radionecrosis Soft tissue radionecrosis commonly occurs following radiation therapy for cancer, including soft tissue tumors. It can affect any organ or part of the body, and it primarily occurs in the area in and around the regions that were previously irradiated. Some examples of soft tissue radionecrosis include: Oral cavity ulceration Laryngeal necrosis Tissue breakdown Surgical wound dehiscence The loss of tissue grafts in the radiated field Others include intestinal inflammation, damage to the lower colon, and bowel or bladder dysfunction. Treatment Given the complexity of soft tissue radionecrosis, treatment can also be difficult. Conventional therapies for non-healing wounds and bleeding problems are typically seen in soft tissue radio necrosis might, in most cases, be unsuccessful in controlling symptoms. Furthermore, given that the tissue is already lacking in vascularity to be able to provide oxygen and nutrients for healing, surgical intervention techniques tend to have a high rate of failure and might even further exacerbate the issue. This is why hyperbaric oxygen therapy is mostly recommended as a treatment path. Contact Valley Hyperbaric Center today for an appointment with our specialists if you suspect radionecrosis after undergoing radiotherapy.

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