In 2007, the treatment of diabetes and its complications in the United States generated at least $116 billion in direct costs; at least 33% of these costs were linked to the treatment of foot ulcers. Although the team approach to diabetic foot problems is effective in preventing lower-extremity amputations, the costs associated with implementing a diabetic-foot–care team are not well understood. An analysis of these costs provides the basis for this report.
Diabetic foot problems impose a major economic burden, and costs increase disproportionately to the severity of the condition. Compared with diabetic patients without foot ulcers, the cost of care for those with foot ulcers is 5.4 times higher in the year after the first ulcer episode and 2.8 times higher in the second year. Costs for treating the highest-grade ulcers are 8 times higher than are those for treating low-grade ulcers. Patients with diabetic foot ulcers require more frequent emergency department visits and are more commonly admitted to the hospital, requiring longer lengths of stay. Implementation of the team approach to manage diabetic foot ulcers in a given region or health-care system has been reported to reduce long-term amputation rates 62% to 82%. Limb salvage efforts may include aggressive therapy such as revascularization procedures and advanced wound-healing modalities. Although these procedures are costly, the team approach gradually leads to improved screening and prevention programs and earlier interventions and, thus, seems to reduce long-term costs.
To date, aggressive limb preservation management for patients with diabetic foot ulcers has not usually been paired with adequate reimbursement. It is essential to direct efforts in patient-caregiver education to allow early recognition and management of all diabetic foot problems and to build integrated pathways of care that facilitate timely access to limb salvage procedures. Increasing evidence suggests that the costs of implementing diabetic foot teams can be offset in the long term by improved access to care and reductions in foot complications and amputation rates. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 335–341, 2010)
An updated selection of high-quality Internet resources related to wound and ulcer care is presented. Of potential use to the podiatric medical practitioner, educator, resident, and student, some Web sites that cover hyperbaric medicine, antibiotic use, and wound and ulcer prevention are also included. These Web sites have been evaluated on the basis of their potential to enhance the practice of podiatric medicine, in addition to contributing to the educational process. Readers who require a quick reference source to wound and ulcer care may find this report useful. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(3): 264–268, 2006)
Nerve Decompression After Diabetic Foot Ulceration May Protect Against Recurrence
A 3-Year Controlled, Prospective Analysis
Nerve entrapment, common in diabetes, is considered an associated phenomenon without large consequence in the development of diabetes complications such as ulceration, infection, amputation, and early mortality. This prospective analysis, with controls, of the ulcer recurrence rate after operative nerve decompression (ND) offers an objective perspective on the possibility of frequent occult nerve entrapment in the diabetic foot complication cascade.
A multicenter cohort of 42 patients with diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy, failed pharmacologic pain control, palpable pulses, and at least one positive Tinel's nerve percussion sign was treated with unilateral multiple lower-leg external neurolyses for the indication of pain. All of the patients had healed at least one previous ipsilateral plantar diabetic foot ulceration (DFU). This group was retrospectively evaluated a minimum of 12 months after operative ND and again 3 years later. The recurrence risk of ipsilateral DFU in that period was prospectively analyzed and compared with new ulcer occurrence in the contralateral intact, nonoperated control legs.
Operated legs developed two ulcer recurrences (4.8%), and nine contralateral control legs developed ulcers (21.4%), requiring three amputations. Ulcer risk is 1.6% per patient per year in ND legs and 7% in nonoperated control legs (P = .048).
Adding operative ND at lower-leg fibro-osseous tunnels to standard postulcer treatment resulted in a significantly diminished rate of subsequent DFU in neuropathic high-risk feet. This is prospective, objective evidence that ND can provide valuable ongoing protection from DFU recurrence, even years after primary ulcer healing.
Diabetic foot ulcers combined with ischemia and infection can be difficult to treat. Few studies have quantified the level of blood supply and infection control required to treat such complex diabetic foot ulcers. We aimed to propose an index for ischemia and infection control in diabetic chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) with forefoot osteomyelitis.
We retrospectively evaluated 30 patients with diabetic CLTI combined with forefoot osteomyelitis who were treated surgically from January 2009 to December 2016. After 44 surgeries, we compared patient background (age, sex, hemodialysis), infection status (preoperative and 1- and 2-week postoperative C-reactive protein [CRP] levels), surgical bone margin (with or without osteomyelitis), vascular supply (skin perfusion pressure), ulcer size (wound grade 0–3 using the Society for Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection classification), and time to wound healing between patients with healing ulcers and those with nonhealing ulcers.
Preoperative CRP levels and the ratio of ulcers classified as wound grade 3 were significantly lower and skin perfusion pressure was significantly higher in the healing group than in the nonhealing group (P < .05). No other significant differences were found between groups.
This study demonstrates that debridement should be performed first to control infection if the preoperative CRP level is greater than 40 mg/L. Skin perfusion pressure of 55 mm Hg is strongly associated with successful treatment. We believe that this research could improve the likelihood of salvaging limbs in patients with diabetes with CLTI.
We sought to assess the biomechanical characteristics of the feet of patients with Charcot neuro-osteoarthropathy and to determine reulceration rates before and after personalized conservative orthotic treatment.
A longitudinal prospective study was performed in 35 patients with Charcot's foot. Although some patients had a history of ulcers, at the study outset no patient had ulcers. All of the patients underwent biomechanical testing and a radiographic study. A radiophotopodogram was prepared by superimposing an imprint of the sole on a plantar radiograph. Based on the results of these tests, an orthopedic insole was prepared and therapeutic footwear prescribed for each foot. The following variables were compared between the Charcot and unaffected feet: previous ulcers and ulcer sites, reulcerations produced after treatment, type of foot (neuropathic/neuroischemic), ankle mobility, first-ray mobility, and relaxed calcaneal stance position. Treatment efficacy was determined by comparing ulcers presenting in patients in the year leading up to the study period and the year in which treatment was received.
In a 1-year period, 70 feet received orthotic treatment, of which 41 were Charcot's feet. Ulceration rates before the study were 73.2% in feet with Charcot's and 31.0% in those without. After 1 year of wearing the customized orthoses, rates fell significantly to 9.8% in the Charcot feet and 0% in the feet without this condition.
Conservative customized orthotic treatment was effective at preventing ulcers and the complications that often lead these patients to surgery.
Background: Chronic, nonhealing wounds are a growing health-care problem in the United States, affecting more than 6.5 million patients annually and costing the health-care system over $25 billion. Chronic wounds, including diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and venous leg ulcers (VLUs), are often difficult to treat, and patients commonly fail to heal even with the most advanced therapies. The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and utility of the synthetic hybrid-scale fiber matrix in the treatment of complex chronic nonhealing lower-extremity ulcers refractory to advanced therapies.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 20 patients with a total of 23 wounds (DFUs, n = 18; VLUs, n = 5) who underwent treatment using the synthetic hybrid-scale fiber matrix was conducted. The majority of ulcers (78%) included in this study were refractory to one or multiple previous advanced wound therapies and therefore considered difficult-to-heal ulcers with high failure risk for future therapies.
Results: Subjects had a mean wound age of 16 months and presented with 132 secondary comorbidities and 65 failed interventions and therapies. Treatment of VLUs with the synthetic matrix resulted in complete closure of 100% of the wounds over 244 ± 153 days with an average of 10.8 ± 5.5 applications. Treatment of DFUs with the synthetic matrix resulted in complete closure of 94% of the wounds over 122 ± 69 days with 6.7 ± 3.9 applications.
Conclusions: Treatment with the synthetic hybrid-scale fiber matrix resulted in the closure of 96% of complex chronic ulcers refractory to existing therapies. The inclusion of the synthetic hybrid-scale fiber matrix in wound care programs provides a critical and needed solution for costly, long-standing refractory wounds.
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.
Diabetes often causes ulcers on the feet of diabetic patients. A 56-year-old, insulin-dependent, diabetic woman presented to the wound care center with a Wagner grade 3 ulcer of the right heel. She reported a 3-week history of ulceration with moderate drainage and odor and had a history of ulceration and osteomyelitis in the contralateral limb. Rigorous wound care, including hospitalization; surgical incision and drainage; intravenous antibiotic drug therapy; vacuum-assisted therapy; and a new room temperature, sterile, human acellular dermal matrix graft were used to heal the wound, save her limb, and restore her activities of daily living. This case presentation involves alternative treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer with this new acellular dermal matrix, DermACELL.
A rare and unusual case of plasma cell dyscrasia of the calcaneus is presented. Clinically, the patient had a draining and painful ulcer that was treated with appropriate antibiotics and wound care but failed to show any signs of healing. Radiographic images showed cystic changes of the calcaneus in the vicinity of the ulcer. Blood work was negative for bone and soft-tissue infection, but uric acid and alkaline phosphatase levels were elevated. Nuclear bone scan showed increased uptake in the calcaneus suggestive of osteomyelitis. One possible differential diagnosis was an intraosseous gouty tophus deposit. Not convinced that this was either a bone infection or gout, the author performed a bone biopsy. Pathologic evaluation indicated plasma cell dyscrasia. Continued wound care healed the ulcer completely, with resolution of pain of his heel. Oncology/hematology was consulted, and 16 months after biopsy, he remains asymptomatic.