Transcutaneous oximetry (TcPO) is a non-invasive, simple and reliable diagnostic method used to assess peri-wound oxygenation and microcirculatory blood flow objectively. The term “peri-wound“ should be emphasized because the measurement is taken at the edge of the wound and not at the center, where it would most likely be lower than the measured levels. Hypoxia is recognized as one of the most significant risk factors for non-healing wounds. It is, therefore, important to identify wound hypoxia early to provide an effective and accurate treatment plan.
Data indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves hypoxia and is frequently used in the management of non-healing wounds. TcPO measurement has helped our understanding of HBOT mechanisms in wound healing. One of the most significant observations related to HBOT was that, with TcPO use, although cutaneous blood flow decreased in the areas where oxygen pressure increased beyond normal levels, it did not decrease in areas where oxygen pressure remained subnormal. This evidence supported the view that unless oxygen pressure does not increase beyond normal values, the vasoconstrictive effect will not occur. Because HBOT is not readily available in all wound care centers and because it poses a significant burden to the healthcare system, the identification of patients most likely to benefit from HBOT is critical. TcPO, in this regard, is currently the most objective method for patient selection for HBOT.