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Dialysis therapy is associated with an increased incidence of lower-extremity wounds and amputations. We compared the incidence of foot ulcers and amputations before and after the start of dialysis.
We evaluated 150 consecutive diabetic patients receiving dialysis and compared the incidence of foot complications 30 months before and after initiation of hemodialysis. We used claims data for diabetes, ulceration, and dialysis and abstracted medical records to verify diagnoses and dates of ulcers and amputations. We compared initial and cumulative ulcer/amputation incidence to account for multiple events in the same person over time. We used the same formula to determine the incidence rate difference and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to compare new ulcers and amputations during the study.
There was no significant difference in the incidence of first foot ulcers before (91.7 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 73.7–112.3 per 1,000 patient-years) and after (82.7; 95% CI, 65.7–102.3) the start of hemodialysis. The incidence of cumulative ulcers was significantly higher before (304.0 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 270.8–340.2) compared with after (210.7 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 183.0–240.9) dialysis. There was no difference in the incidence of first amputation before (29.3 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 1 9.4–41.7 per 1,000 patient-years) and after (37.3 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 19.4–41.7 per 1,000 patient-years) dialysis or in the cumulative incidence of amputations before (61.3 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 46.7–8.4 per 1,000 patient-years) and after (58.7 per 1,000 patient-years; 95% CI, 44.5–75.5 per 1,000 patient-years) dialysis.
There was no increase in the incidence of ulcers or amputations after beginning hemodialysis.