Diabetic Foot Amputations Reduced with Oxygen Therapy

A new review published by the Mayo Foundation has found that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) improves the rate of healing and significantly reduces the risk of major amputations in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.  

Heavy drinking can raise the risk of diabetes by reducing the body’s sensitivity to insulin, causing chronic pancreatitis (which commonly leads to diabetes) and increasing the chance of becoming overweight.

According to an NHS Report around 6,000 people with diabetes undergo leg, foot or toe amputation each year in England.  The risk of lower extremity amputation for people with diabetes is more than twenty times that of people without diabetes.  The cost in England of ulceration and amputation in diabetes for 2010/11 came to over £661,000,000.  In Scotland the latest figures reveal over 1,350 Scots have lost a leg due to the illness.

It is a little known fact that a network of over fifty hyperbaric oxygen chamber facilities are open throughout the UK to deliver oxygen treatment at very low cost.  They are operated for MS patients but other conditions can also be treated.  Their safety record is so good that an Act of Parliament was recently passed deregulating them from the Care Quality Control Inspectorate.

Peter MacCann, Director of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Trust said: “We are constantly being told by authorities that there is a time bomb with hundreds of thousands of young people at risk of developing shattering health problems from diabetes, in many cases leading to loss of limbs.  The NHS will simply not be able to cope.  We now have evidence that this oxygen treatment as an adjunct to standard treatment can reduce amputations.  There is spare capacity at very low cost and it is essential that all NHS Commissioning Boards make patients aware that this treatment is available”.

The Scottish Minister for Public Health Michael Mathewson was recently quoted as saying: “Diabetes is a growing problem for Scotland – we know at least £300,000,000 of hospital expenditure relates to diabetes treatment and the management of its complications.  Even more is spent on the rehabilitation and care needed after amputation”.


Rui Liu et al, Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy in the Management of Chronic Diabetic Foot Ulcers; Mayo Clinic proceedings vol 88, issue 2, pages 166-175, February 2013.

For more information visit Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

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