Wound Care Treatment Using the Circulator Boot
About 10 to 20 years after the onset of diabetes, most people will begin to experience diabetic neuropathy. It begins with intermittent pain and tingling in the extremities, especially the feet. In later stages, the pain is more intense and constant. Finally, the area begins to lose all sensation, increasing the risk of tissue injury. The condition is caused by poor blood flow to the extremities. Many patients end up with toes or feet amputated because of the poor circulation.
CIRCULATOR BOOT SYSTEM
The circulator boot system is an approved medical device in Canada. In the USA, it is the only boot approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of arterial diseases in the leg. The procedure greatly reduces the risk of limb loss, or amputation. Studies show that patients who lose one leg are likely to lose the other and also have a shorter life expectancy.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
First, the patient sits in a specially made bed or treatment chair. Their legs are then put into inflatable plastic bags. The therapist encase the patient's legs in boots made of white fibreglass. A valve regulator, which is connected to the controller is then attached to the top of each boot. Once the circulator boot system is turned on, between heartbeats, air pulses through the bag, compressing the leg. Oxygenated blood is drawn in, and venous blood is expelled. Pressure is released just as the heart's next systolic beat occurs. The cycle is repeated from 40 to 100 times per minute. If an infected wound is present, antibiotics can be injected into the foot or leg before treatment to help the medication diffuse more effectively through the affected tissues. The procedure improves circulation by breaking down clots, re-channeling blocked vessels and forming new or small vessels to help restore blood flow.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL?
The length and frequency of treatment varies for each patient. For example, patients with a pulse rate of 80 beats per minute might receive 4800 such compressions per hour. Patients with minor problems may see improvement in a few weeks. A severely diseased leg could take four to six months to save. At clinics that use the Circulator Boot, typically nine out of ten patients are able to avoid amputation.
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