HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "You don't think about it. It's just a small sore on the foot. It's a major problem though, because some cancers aren't that bad".
Doctor George Macris is speaking of diabetic ulcers. Relatively new information has shown how lethal they are to the medicare population in Hawaii.
"Mortality is about 11% per year--which means in about 5 years half the people with diabetic foot ulcers are dead" Dr. Macris said matter-of-factly.
However, he and his team are aiming to change that with the use of hyperbaric treatments.
Well known for their ability to help divers, the chambers are now helping those afflicted with the ulcers.
"If you have small vessels that are blocked hyperbaric treatment causes hormonal changes which cause new blood vessels to grow. Now you have a good flow of blood to the wound, and the wound heals" he described.
The results have been nothing short of amazing. Dr. Macris states that five years after treatment, 90% of patients are still healthy. Ten years out, that number only drops 10%.
The treatment is simple. Patients enter the chamber, put on a hood assembly which pumps pure oxygen into their system, and relax.
Normal treatments last two hours per session. The amount of sessions is determined by the severity of the wound.
While the technology isn't new, the information regarding the mortality rate of those with ulcers is. Thus, Dr. Macris feels an urgency to get the information out to the public so people can receive treatment as opposed to traditional, invasive measures such as surgery or amputation.