HCMC using real-time blood flow imaging to improve treatment for non-healing wounds

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HCMC is the first in Minnesota to use the LUNA Imaging System

Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Center for Wound Healing and its Center for Hyperbaric Medicine are now using fluorescence microangiography – a new technology that can assess blood flow in chronic, non-healing wounds and diabetic foot ulcers. HCMC is the first in Minnesota to use the LUNA™ Imaging System during wound assessment.

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Dr. Thomas Masters

“The results of using LUNA have become so impressive that we can’t imagine caring for wounds without it. It’s quickly become an integral assessment tool,” explains emergency physician Dr. Thomas Masters.

Healthy blood flow or microcirculation is essential to healing wounds that can result from diabetes, a complication from a recent surgery, or even frostbite. Fluorescence microangiography with the LUNA system enables doctors to perform assessment of blood flow to the wound, utilizing real-time information to define treatment plans, optimize patient recovery and reduce the frequency of these complications. Complications from chronic wounds may include necrosis, infection, partial or total limb amputation and the need for repeat surgery.

“We already know that some diabetic and radiation wounds greatly improve when treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” said Dr. Masters. “Having the LUNA diagnostic tool to visualize the results allows us to measure the successful healing process during treatment. Likewise, it can indicate when there’s irrevocable tissue death so unnecessary limb preservation efforts can be avoided.”

Procedures with the LUNA System do not involve the potential safety hazards associated with X-ray procedures and traditional contrast agents. Because the dye that’s used is processed in the liver, kidney function is not affected. This is significant for patients diagnosed with diabetes whose kidney function may be at risk.

“We care for many patients with diabetes who may already have compromised kidney function, so this was a very important factor to us,” said Dr. Masters.

HCMC has the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the region that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients and those with limb or life-threatening infections.

Hyperbaric oxygen has long been recognized as an important adjunctive therapy for chronic medical conditions such as delayed soft tissue radiation injury and Wagner 3 or greater foot ulcers in diabetic patients. For more information, go to www.hennepinhealthcare.org

Center for Hyperbaric Medicine re-accredited “with distinction”

Hyperbaric chamber at HCMC
Hyperbaric chamber at HCMC

Congratulations to the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine for recently achieving re-accreditation “with distinction” from the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine Society (UHMS)!

In addition to being the accrediting agency for hyperbaric chambers recognized by The Joint Commission, the UHMS is the primary source of scientific information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide.

HCMC’s 2-day survey took place in March and included over 600 checkpoints for the program, resulting in re-accreditation “with distinction” which means the program can be called a “Center of Excellence.”

HCMC has the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the region that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients: usually victims of carbon monoxide exposure or life-threatening infections, but also cerebral gas embolism and decompression sickness (“the bends”).

Congratulations to everyone on the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine team for this excellent achievement!

Winter weather means outdoor fun — and a reminder about indoor safety

It’s colorless and odorless, and it claims the lives of more than 400 people in the United States every year. It’s carbon monoxide (CO), and it can be found in the exhaust of gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns or by burning charcoal and wood.

Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, fainting and confusion — symptoms that are similar to — and often mistaken for — stomach flu.

“But if there’s a CO source, and others are also feeling ill,  CO should be the first suspect,” explains Dr. Cheryl Adkinson, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at HCMC.  “Don’t dismiss the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. You should get medical help right away if you think you’ve been exposed to this deadly gas.”

For those who plan on doing a little fishing once the lakes are frozen, it’s important to know that carbon monoxide poisoning can set in within a few minutes in a small, heated and confined space like an ice house.

Make sure you enjoy the great winter weather — but don’t let carbon monoxide poisoning or any other safety concern get in the way! Visit hcmc.org/outdoors for more information about how to avoid CO poisoning and keep those outdoor activities safe.

HCMC’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine opens in June

HCMC will open the new Center for Hyperbaric Medicine, which includes a 60-ton hyperbaric chamber, on hospital’s main campus in downtown Minneapolis in mid-June. The 48-foot long chamber, which arrived in sections last November, replaces the current 49-year-old hyperbaric chamber located two blocks away.

HCMC will continue to have the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the region that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients: usually victims of carbon monoxide exposure or life-threatening infections, but also cerebral gas embolism and decompression sickness (“the bends”).

“This new facility is one of the most thoughtfully designed multiplace chamber ensembles in the world for delivering critical care,” says Dr. Cheryl Adkinson, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. “From monitoring to communication, environmental control, and gas delivery systems – the arrangement and the individual capabilities of the three connecting chambers will provide maximum flexibility to simultaneously manage multiple combinations of critically ill and stable, scheduled patients.”

In addition to being a life-saving emergency treatment for some conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used to treat radiation injuries, diabetic ulcers, and other chronic wounds.

“As our population ages and becomes more obese,  more and more people are suffering from diabetes and chronic diabetic foot ulcers” explains Dr. Adkinson. “Diabetes damages blood vessels, leading to low tissue oxygen levels and poor healing; however, by delivering high levels of oxygen to tissues of the body, many of these wounds can heal, preventing the painful and life-changing complications of amputation.”

The $10.9 million project was paid for by a combination of county, state, federal and hospital funding sources.  It included construction of a 10,278-square foot addition to the hospital’s main campus on 7th Street in Minneapolis. Patients from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Western Wisconsin and the Canadian border are referred to HCMC for hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The facility has three multiple-person chambers as well as a single monoplace chamber.

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HCMC is a leader in trauma and critical care medicine. The Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center opened a completely renovated Burn Center last fall, one of only two critical care burn centers in Minnesota verified by the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).  Over the past five years, all adult intensive care units have been relocated and renovated within the downtown facility and this year the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be renovated.

More information about the construction of the new hyperbaric chamber facility 

New hyperbaric chamber installation scheduled for Thursday

Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) new hyperbaric chamber is expected to arrive late Wednesday to be installed starting Thursday morning. The 48-foot, 120,000 pound chamber will be unloaded from the truck and placed inside the 10,278-square foot addition to HCMC’s Purple Building (near the 716 S. 7th St. entrance).

Installation activities will begin at approximately 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Kraus-Anderson Construction Company is building the new addition that will house the hyperbaric chamber. 

Hyperbaric Chamber at loading dock in Australia

HCMC currently has the only multi-chamber hyperbaric oxygen facility in the state that’s used for 24/7 emergency treatment of critically ill patients; usually victims of carbon monoxide exposure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used for treatments including radiation injuries, diabetic ulcers, chronic wound healing, and the HCMC chamber is used for research showing promise for patients with a traumatic brain injury.   

Original hyperbaric chamber being delivered by train, circa 1963

HCMC’s current hyperbaric chamber is 48 years old and located two blocks away from the downtown campus. The new hyperbaric chamber and wound healing center will open in the Spring of 2012.

HCMC’s Burn Center doubles in size to care for patients throughout Midwest

Open House 2-4 p.m. Thursday, November 10

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) announces the opening of its newly remodeled Burn Center, a premier 16,000 square foot facility designed to serve the needs of patients from the entire upper Midwest.

The expanded Burn Center is double the size of the previous facility and houses 17 private rooms with roll-in showers, tub rooms, family-friendly gathering areas, rooming-in options and other amenities that improve the patient experience. An ambulatory burn clinic is part of the new center, providing burn care expertise to patients who don’t require hospitalization.

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