An advanced technology now available at Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital in the Greater Heights area has the capability to drastically improve wound care for patients and greatly reduce the impact of chronic wounds, according to Ibrahim Garcia-Mowatt, M.D., a board-certified specialist in wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northwest.
Chronic wounds, a common side effect of diabetes and vascular disease, affect approximately 6 million people per year in the United States and result in an average of 73,000 non-traumatic lower-extremity amputations per year. The sometimes irreparable damage caused by chronic wounds occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the wounds to facilitate healing.
“The key factors associated with healing a wound are its vascular nature and blood flow,” said Shawn Cauley, director of the Wound Care Program at Memorial Hermann Northwest. “When wounds don’t heal because of lack of blood flow, that problem must be corrected.”
The LUNA™ Fluorescence Angiography System is a revelation in this regard for the physicians at Memorial Hermann Northwest, the only facility in the Houston area with this system.
“It is imperative for physicians to know whether it is an arterial or venous component of the blood flow that is preventing the healing,” Cauley said. “The LUNA system identifies the blood flow in the wound itself.”
Fluorescence angiography works something like a GPS tracker, mapping the vascular system around a wound in real time. It combines fluorescence imaging, laser and camera technologies with advanced software to produce high-resolution images of the inside of blood vessels, organs and blood flow to extremities within two to three minutes. An imaging agent administered to the patient binds to the protein in the blood and naturally circulates throughout the body. The laser and camera capture images of the blood flow into and out of the wound, and displays them on a mobile unit. Those images are then processed and analyzed.
“When physicians, therapists and nurses have this information, they can customize treatment plans to improve the blood flow in the wound,” Cauley said. “This system also allows physicians to evaluate the success of treatment and surgeries.”
The advantages of an advanced imaging system to patients are numerous:
- Has the potential to save limbs and reduce healing time
- Can help predict wound healing
- Allows specialists to see blood flow to and from a wound in real time to determine the best treatment option
- Can potentially reduce cost of care and therapy management through accurate data analysis
Inwood Forest resident Robert Liska recently began treatment at Memorial Hermann Wound Care at Memorial Hermann Northwest. “I’m very impressed with the level of care here,” said Liska, who likes the fact that the LUNA system allows him to see the healing progress. “They show me what’s wrong with my body and it helps them to know how to heal me.”
To schedule an appointment with a wound care specialist at Memorial Hermann Northwest, call 713-867-2432 or visit them at 1635 North Loop West, Houston, TX 77008 on the 610 service road just before Ella Boulevard.