We sought to determine patient and ulcer characteristics that predict wound healing in patients living with diabetes.
A prospective observational study was conducted on 99 patients presenting with diabetic foot ulceration. Patient and ulcer characteristics were recorded. Patients were followed up for a maximum of 1 year.
After 1 year of follow-up, ulcer characteristics were more predictive of ulcer healing than were patient characteristics. Seventy-seven percent of ulcers had healed and 23% had not healed. Independent predictors of nonhealing were ulcer stage (P = .003), presence of biofilm (P = .020), and ulcer depth (P = .028). Although this study demonstrated that the baseline hemoglobin A1c reading at the start of the study was not a significant predictor of foot ulcer outcome (P = .603, resolved versus amputated), on further statistical analyses, when hemoglobin A1c was compared with the time taken for complete ulcer healing (n = 77), it proved to be significant (P = .009).
The factors influencing healing are ulcer stage, presence of biofilm, and ulcer depth. These findings have important implications for clinical practice, especially in an outpatient setting. Prediction of outcome may be helpful for health-care professionals in individualizing and optimizing clinical assessment and management of patients. Identification of determinants of outcome could result in improved health outcomes, improved quality of life, and fewer diabetes-related foot complications.
Pressure ulcers of the heel are a major and growing health-care problem. Although prevention and aggressive local wound care and pressure reduction remain the gold standard for treatment of most heel ulcers, recalcitrant wounds may require surgical intervention. Limb salvage when dealing with heel ulcers remains a challenge. Nine feet (eight patients) that underwent partial calcanectomy for chronic nonhealing heel ulcers were evaluated retrospectively. Complete healing occurred in seven of nine feet. Patients who were ambulatory before surgery remained ambulatory after healing. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(4): 335–341, 2005)