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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2015 May-Jun;42(3):197-204.

Glycosylated hemoglobin and hyperbaric oxygen coverage denials.


Some Medicaid and Medicare fiscal intermediaries are denying hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy for diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) patients if the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) > 7.0%. We performed multiple PubMed searches for any diabetic wound healing clinical trial that documented HbA1c and had a wound healing endpoint. We scrutinized 30 peer-reviewed clinical trials, representing more than 4,400 patients. The average HbA1c from the intervention side of the studies was 8.6% (7.2% - 9.9%) and the control/sham side was 8.3% (6.0% - 10.6%). Twelve studies made a direct attempt to link HbA1c and wound healing. Four retrospective studies and one prospective cohort study assert that lower HbA1c favors wound healing, but review of the studies reveal design flaws that invalidate these conclusions. In total, 25 studies showed no direct correlation between HbA1c levels and wound healing. There was no randomized controlled trial (RCT) data demonstrating that HbA1c < 7.0% improves diabetic wound healing. In every study reviewed, wounds healed with high HbA1c levels that would be considered poorly controlled by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Frequently, patients lack optimal blood glucose control when they have a limb-threatening DFU. The evidence supports that denying hyperbaric oxygen to those with HbA1c > 7.0% is unfounded.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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