New York Hospital Queens at Silvercrest in Briarwood opened a chronic wound healing center Tuesday, which will feature hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It is only the second facility in Queens to offer this therapy.
The center will cater to people with very specific types of wounds that are usually a result of other complications or diseases, like diabetes.
Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation is now home to two hyperbaric oxygen chambers, which hold patients in an enclosed tube containing 100 percent oxygen — the air humans inhale on a daily basis consists of about 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. In the chambers, the oxygen is pressurized to two times the regular atmospheric pressure.
John Capotorto, medical and compliance director for the Center for Wound Healing program, said many people with diabetes lose sensation in their lower extremities, like their feet.
“It not only puts their limbs at risk, but in some cases it could spread,” Capotorto said, adding that the air pressure allows for the oxygen to reach wounds more quickly, which stimulates tissue growth. This allows for the wounds to heal faster from the inside, out.
“We’ve gotten some very good results — over 80 percent healing rate,” he said.
HBOT is not required for all patients with wounds, only about 15 percent, Capotorto said.
Cliff Keeling, the regional director of the Center for Wound Healing program, said the therapy has actually been around since the 1600s.
“The reason it’s important is because it can prevent patients from getting amputations,” Keeling said.
He said that many people who have chronic wounds cannot feel them, so oftentimes they fester for months, even years.
Michael Tretola, senior vice president and administrator at Silvercrest, said the therapy is important since many medical facilities were closed in the Briarwood area.
“In particular, these services are not available in Queens,” Tretola said. He added that Queens is a diverse area that, like the nation, unfortunately suffers from diabetes, obesity and an aging population.
“We’re very proud to be partners with New York Hospital Queens and it’s a very important service to the community,” he said.
Sharon Cohen, a wound care specialist at Silvercrest, said this treatment will greatly benefit the community.
“It’s a multi-disciplinary approach when it comes to wound care,” Cohen said. “It’s a unique situation because wound facilities usually go with hospitals — this is the first time they’re working with a long-term care facility.”
Although the site only has two HBOT chambers, Tretola said it is set up for expansion if the demand for the treatment increases.
Capotorto said he hopes more people will learn that these facilities exist, because some doctors are not even aware of them. He also expects other facilities will open wound care centers like the one at Silvercrest, if for no other reason than because of competition.
For more information on the center, call (855) 480-HEAL (4325).