Every year, researchers discover new, innovative ways to improve health care. Despite the ever-growing sophistication in the field, however, some new hopeful methods prove to be ineffective. Take for example a recent study that was focused on pure oxygen therapy for those with foot ulcers. Researchers determined that not only did the treatment offer little in the way of benefits, but they also discovered that the practice was potentially harmful to patients.
“Researchers following more than 6,000 diabetes patients receiving treatment for deep foot wounds found that patients who got oxygen-chamber treatments along with standard wound care were no more likely to heal and more than twice as likely to undergo amputations as those getting standard care alone,” explained the editor of a recent Reuters article.
The study was conducted by a team of health care professionals at the University of Pennsylvania, and the results were published in the journal Diabetes Care. Those team members expected to see a replication of what had occurred in previous randomized trials where pure oxygen was thought to promote tissue growth and speed healing. Instead, they were confronted with the near opposite.
“After 16 weeks, about 43 percent of oxygen therapy patients had fully healed wounds, compared to about 50 percent of patients who did not use oxygen therapy,” the Reuters editor said. “And about 7 percent of oxygen therapy patients had an amputation, compared to just 2 percent of those who did not get oxygen treatments.”
By looking closer at the results, however, the authors of the study discovered that more research is necessary. Because the researchers adjusted their methods according to the severity of patients’ wounds, some believe that the results are inconclusive.
Dr. David Margolis from the Perelman School of Medicine put the study into perspective. “It’s like many things in medicine, it’s just one other study and you have to look at the totality of the information available,” he said.