The Use of Topical Oxygen Therapy to Treat a Calciphylaxis Wound During a Global Pandemic: A Case Report

Citation: Cole W, Yoder CM, Coe S. The Use of Topical Oxygen Therapy to Treat a Calciphylaxis Wound During a Global Pandemic: A Case Report. Wounds. 2020 Nov;32(11):294-298. PMID: 33465045.


Introduction: Calciphylaxis is a rare, highly morbid pathological syndrome of vascular calcification and tissue necrosis. It is predominantly seen in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on chronic dialysis. There is no definitive standard of care for calciphylaxis, and the overall prognosis for patients, particularly those with ulcerated lesions, is bleak. One important role of wound care clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure that the continuity of care of an at-risk population is maintained while limiting the patient’s potential exposure to the virus. Innovative therapies paired with alternative treatment sites of service are one such method.

Case report: A 56-year-old female with ESRD on at-home peritoneal dialysis (PD) presented to the outpatient wound clinic with a punch biopsy-proven calciphylaxis lesion. Within days, state-wide “shelter-at-home” orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect. To prevent disruption in care and to minimize risk to the patient, the lesion was treated with bi-weekly self-application of a continuous topical oxygen therapy (cTOT) device paired with weekly telemedicine visits. The wound completely resolved after 9 weeks of topical oxygen therapy with no complications or device malfunctions.

Conclusions: This case, to the authors’ knowledge, is the first to document healing in a calciphylaxis wound with the use of cTOT. Topical oxygen therapy may be a beneficial adjunctive therapy in the treatment of wounds caused by calciphylaxis. Finding creative ways to navigate this current health care crisis is essential to help mitigate risk for vulnerable patients with advanced comorbidities.