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.
“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