CASE STUDY

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for chronic radiation tissue injury

Subject: Kay Wilson, now 66, owner of a financial planning business in Eugene, was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsil cancer Dec. 28, 2009. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in Palm Desert, Calif. Two separate PET scans were clear at conclusion of treatment.

Diagnosis: Patient was diagnosed with chronic radiation tissue injury of the larynx and esophagus. She complained of hoarseness, severe pain, and difficulty with the swallowing function and other parts of the gustatory apparatus. She was on morphine for a year and a feeding tube for eight months, and malnutrition had left her too weak to walk. Her dentist in Palm Desert suggested she look into Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

Treatment: Patient began HBOT treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center's Hyperbaric Center under Medical Director Robert C. Barnes, MD, FACP, CWS, in mid-December 2010, more than six months after conclusion of radiation. She completed an initial course of 30 HBOT sessions, breathing 100 percent oxygen at pressures two to three times the normal atmospheric pressure for 90 minutes at a time. She underwent another 16 sessions in August 2011.

Outcome: By the sixth session, patient was able to swallow water. After her first course of therapy (30 sessions), she no longer needed the feeding tube. Her pain decreased and she weaned from the morphine. "She reported a substantial improvement very, very early in her course and for the most part those improvements were durable," Dr. Barnes said, noting that her results were uncommonly good. Most patients require more therapy before experiencing symptom resolution. Patient now speaks normally and recently returned from a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, during which she walked as many as eight miles a day. Her sense of taste and ability to smile and eat acidic food remain limited, but her quality of life is restored. "I have no pain," Ms. Wilson said. "It's amazing how much better I can swallow. I have more energy because, of course, I can eat now. It's changed my life."

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Hyperbaric Center

Sacred Heart Medical Center
3311 RiverBend Drive
Springfield, OR  97477
Phone: (541) 222-4500
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday

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