Frostbite is an injury caused by the freezing of tissue, causing varied levels of tissue damage and necrosis. Case reports have shown a positive effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO₂) in such injuries, in acute cases as well as delayed (up to 21 days) presentation with complications. In this case report we present the course of hyperbaric treatment of two patients (a brother and sister, age 58 and 62) who sustained frostbite injuries to both feet 28 days earlier while hiking in the Himalayas. They were initially treated in Nepal following local protocol; afterward their primary care in the Netherlands was managed by the Burn Centre at Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam. Both patients were treated with daily sessions of in total 80 minutes of 100% oxygen at 2.5 atmospheres absolute. The female patient (age 62) received 25 sessions and showed a remarkable preservation of tissue and quick demarcation. Only partial surgical amputation of the second toe on the right was needed. In the male patient (age 58) both front feet were already mummified to a larger extent before start of treatment. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy 30 sessions) demarcation progressed quickly, resulting in early surgical amputation. Both patients experienced no side effects of HBO₂ treatment. Given that both patients showed a quick progress and demarcation of their wounds, with remarkable tissue preservation in the female patient, we suggest that hyperbaric oxygen therapy should be considered in treating frostbite injuries, in acute as well as delayed cases, even four weeks after initial injury.
Lansdorp, Roukema, Boonstra, Dokter, , , , , (). Delayed treatment of frostbite with hyperbaric oxygen: a report of two cases. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, ;44(4):365-369. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28783893