Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for chronic ulcers in systemic sclerosis - case series

Int J Dermatol. 2017 Jun;56(6):636-640. doi: 10.1111/ijd.13570. Epub 2017 Feb 23.


Background: Digital and leg ulcers are extremely painful, hard to heal manifestations of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Many treatments have been tried for these challenging complications, but use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is very limited. HBOT has been used as an adjunctive therapy for treating chronic wounds, and nonhealing SSc wounds, which have a hypoxic nature, may also benefit from it.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of six SSc patients who underwent HBOT for their ulcers. Patient demographics, ulcer properties, and details of treatments were evaluated.

Results: Three patients had digital ulcers, and the other three had leg ulcers. Three patients (two leg ulcers and one digital ulcer) had bilateral lesions. All patients had been treated for at least one and a half months with various modalities. After HBOT was applied, four patients' ulcers healed completely and two patients had near-complete healing. Amputation was not required for any.

Conclusion: This case series, which has the largest patient population up to present, shows adjunctive HBOT may be helpful in the treatment of SSc ulcers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fingers
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Leg Ulcer / etiology
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications*
  • Toes
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing