Effect of hydrogen intervention on refractory wounds after radiotherapy: A case report

Background: Patients with keloids who receive radiotherapy (RT) after surgery can develop refractory wounds that cannot be healed by the patient’s own repair system. Such chronic wounds are uneven and complex due to persistent abscess and ulceration. Without external intervention, they can easily result in local tissue necrosis or, in severe cases, large area tissue resection, amputation, and even death. Case summary: This article describes the use of hydrogen to treat a 42-year-old female patient with a chronic wound on her left shoulder. The patient had a skin graft that involved implanting a dilator under the skin of her left shoulder, and then transferring excess skin from her shoulder onto scar tissue on her chest. The skin grafting was followed by two rounds of RT, after which the shoulder wound had difficulty healing. For six months, the patient was treated with 2 h of hydrogen inhalation (HI) therapy per day, in addition to application of sterile gauze on the wound and periodic debridement. We also performed one deep, large, sharp debridement to enlarge the wound area. The wound healed completely within 6 mo of beginning the HI treatment. Conclusion: After HI therapy, the patient showed superior progress in reepithelialization and wound repair, with eventual wound closure in 6 mo, in comparison with the previous failures of hyperbaric oxygen and recombinant bovine basic fibroblast growth factor therapies. Our work showed that HI therapy could be a new strategy for wound healing that is cleaner, more convenient, and less expensive than other therapies, as well as easily accessible for further application in clinical wound care.