Conflicting evidence exists on the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in the treatment of chronic ischemic leg ulcers. The aim of this trial was to investigate whether additional HBOT would benefit patients with diabetes and ischemic leg ulcers.
Patients with diabetes with an ischemic wound (n = 120) were randomized to standard care (SC) without or with HBOT (SC+HBOT). Primary outcomes were limb salvage and wound healing after 12 months, as well as time to wound healing. Other end points were amputation-free survival (AFS) and mortality.
Both groups contained 60 patients. Limb salvage was achieved in 47 patients in the SC group vs. 53 patients in the SC+HBOT group (risk difference [RD] 10% [95% CI –4 to 23]). After 12 months, 28 index wounds were healed in the SC group vs. 30 in the SC+HBOT group (RD 3% [95% CI –14 to 21]). AFS was achieved in 41 patients in the SC group and 49 patients in the SC+HBOT group (RD 13% [95% CI –2 to 28]). In the SC+HBOT group, 21 patients (35%) were unable to complete the HBOT protocol as planned. Those who did had significantly fewer major amputations and higher AFS (RD for AFS 26% [95% CI 10–38]).
Additional HBOT did not significantly improve complete wound healing or limb salvage in patients with diabetes and lower-limb ischemia.