Where Wound Healing Begins.
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As early as 2004, the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM) began to receive numerous notifications from its membership that several national insurance carriers had determined that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for radiation necrosis would be categorized as experimental/investigational and subsequently resulted in denial of submitted claims. The results of these determinations, if left unchallenged, would have eliminated the use of HBOT for patients with radiation injuries. Thanks to the ACHM and funding from the Kindwall Foundation which allowed ACHM to create radiation registry. We are at same crossroads at the present time as insurance companies look at resource utilization and value-based care. It is imperative for societies like ours to encourage its members to do research not only to look at the value of HBOT for existing indications and to find out if there is evidence to support its use in other widespread conditions where HBOT might be useful.
The ACHM board is passionate about supporting research to develop more evidence on existing indications and to look at other potential new indications where there is a lot of global anecdotal evidence but not enough data to support its routine use. For example, use of HBO therapy for Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease. There was a recent abstract presented by Dulai PS et al, which clearly shows that HBOT can be useful and is a cost-effective therapy for the patients with ulcerative colitis but rightly concluded that further studies were needed. Traditional treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis is biological therapy. We want to know if patients with ulcerative colitis will benefit from HBOT as an adjunct to biological therapy, as biological therapy is a extremely costly treatment. We also want to know if we can start HBOT before starting biological therapy which again needs more research.
Many hyperbaric medicine physicians have seen the beneficial effect of HBOT in patients with pyoderma gangrenosum, but these patients are not able to get HBOT because of lack of evidence and most insurance carriers consider HBOT in such cases to be experimental and therefore are non-reimbursable. TBI studies are going on right now and there are several studies already published on this subject with considerable interest. Stroke is another indication where HBOT might be useful but we need to work together to develop evidence. As HBOT is not funded by pharmaceutical companies, it will be our duty to support the research foundation which would focus completely on HBO therapy research.
Our board members are committed to work for HBO therapy and to develop its science. I encourage each one of you to donate generously for this cause.With Regards,
Research Foundation Leadership
Steven Bowers is the Chair of the ACHM Research
Foundation and Research Committee. He is leading the ACHM Research Foundation as they evaluate Research Protocols to make sure they meet the
US standards in research.
“I am honored to accept the position of Chair of the Research Foundation and Committee. I look forward to serving in this new role. One of my primary goals will be to help develop well needed clinical trials to continue to expand the role of HBOT. Funding for this research is extremely difficult to find, and the budget for these trials can be very expensive. I’m hoping to encourage more members of the ACHM to become involved in the research committee; with additional members, we will be better able to raise funds and collaborate on ideas for future studies. I personally have an interest in HBOT for the treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Interstitial Cystitis, Pyoderma Gangrenosum, and Calciphylaxis and have been actively pursuing funding for clinical trials over the past year, with no success. All of these conditions already have supporting literature, several with randomized controlled trials, to support the use of HBOT. The majority of papers written on HBOT end with the all too familiar – “more, well designed randomized, controlled, blinded clinical trials are necessary.” Please join me in an effort to complete this necessary research and broaden the scope of what we can treat, and to demonstrate to our colleagues the many benefits of HBOT.” – Dr. Steven Bowers
Other members of the Foundation include Dr. Earl Wolf, Dr. Rafael Rafols, Dr. Helen Gelly, and Dr. Cuau Sanchez. To become involved, please email email@example.com.