Background: Treatment of diabetic foot wounds remains a major health-care issue, with diabetic foot ulcers representing the most common causal pathway to lower-extremity amputation. Although several investigations have examined topical collagen-based dressings, none have specifically looked at equine pericardium. We, therefore, evaluated the effect of the equine pericardium dressing on neuropathic foot wounds.
Methods: Twenty-three consecutive patients with 34 neuropathic foot wounds were evaluated as part of a pilot study. An equine pericardium dressing was applied in a standard manner, and the patients followed a standard postapplication treatment protocol. Changes in wound size were recorded when the equine dressing was removed and 4 and 12 weeks after application. Patients underwent dressing changes every 3 to 4 days until healed or for 12 weeks.
Results: Thirty-two wounds in 22 patients were prospectively available for evaluation. On enrollment, the median wound size was 299 mm2. When the equine material was removed (mean, 2.9 weeks), 30 of the wounds (94%) had improved, with a median size of 115 mm2 and an average reduction in size of 44.3% (P < .0001). At 4 weeks, the average decrease in wound size was 52.3% (P < .0001). At 12 weeks, 15 wounds (47%) had healed.
Conclusions: This first report of equine pericardium used to treat neuropathic foot ulcerations demonstrates that the equine pericardium dressing is a safe and beneficial treatment for neuropathic wounds. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(4): 301–305, 2009)
Motivational Interviewing by Podiatric Physicians
A Method for Improving Patient Self-care of the Diabetic Foot
Foot ulceration and lower-extremity amputation are devastating end-stage complications of diabetes. Despite agreement that diabetic foot self-care is a key factor in prevention of ulcers and amputation, there has only been limited success in influencing these behaviors among patients with diabetes. While most efforts have focused on increasing patient knowledge, knowledge and behavior are poorly correlated. Knowledge is necessary but rarely sufficient for behavior change. A key determinant to adherence to self-care behavior is clinician counseling style. Podiatrists are the ideal providers to engage in a brief behavioral intervention with a patient. Motivational interviewing is a well-accepted, evidence-based teachable approach that enhances self-efficacy and increases intrinsic motivation for change and adherence to treatment. This article summarizes some key strategies that can be employed by podiatrists to improve foot self-care. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(1): 78–84, 2011)
Since 2006 there have been increased reports of severe agranulocytosis and vasculitis associated with levamisole use. Historically, levamisole was an immunomodulatory agent used in various cancer treatments in the United States. Currently the drug is used as an antihelminthic veterinary medication, but it is also used as an additive in freebase cocaine. There are multiple reports of levamisole-induced vasculitis in the head and neck but limited reported cases in the lower extremities. This article describes a 60-year-old woman who presented to the emergency department with multiple painful lower-extremity ulcerations.
Radiographs, laboratory studies, and punch biopsy were performed. Physical examination findings and laboratory results were negative for signs of infection. Treatment included local wound care and education on cocaine cessation, and the patient was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. Her continued use of cocaine, however, prevented her ulcers from healing.
Local wound care and cocaine cessation is the optimal treatment for levamisole-induced lesions. With the increase in the number of patients with levamisole-induced vasculitis, podiatric physicians and surgeons would benefit from the immediate identification of these ulcerations, as their appearance alone can be distinct and pathognomonic. Early identification of levamisole-induced ulcers is important for favorable treatment outcomes. A complete medical and social history is necessary for physicians to treat these lesions with local wound care and provide therapy for patients with addictions.
Evaluating Iatrogenic Complications of the Total-Contact Cast
An 8-Year Retrospective Review at Cleveland Clinic
Background: Total-contact casting is an effective method to treat various pathologic abnormalities in patients with diabetic neuropathy, but its use is frequently associated with iatrogenic complications.
Methods: The largest retrospective review to date of iatrogenic complications of total-contact casts was conducted over an 8-year period at Cleveland Clinic.
Results: In the past 8 years, 23% of patients developed complications, and the most common complication was a new heel ulcer formation. Of these complications, 92.1% resolved, 6.4% were lost to follow-up, and 1.4% resulted in a partial foot amputation. Mean cast duration was 10.3 days for patients who developed a total-contact cast iatrogenic complication. The most common indication for the use of a total-contact cast was a neuropathic foot ulceration.
Conclusions: The results of this study support the use of total-contact casting in the insensate patient with diabetes. However, adequate staff training in total-contact cast application is recommended to reduce complications.
Therapeutic Options for Diabetic Foot Infections
A Review with an Emphasis on Tissue Penetration Characteristics
Foot complications are common in diabetic patients; foot ulcers are among the more serious consequences. These ulcers frequently become infected, and if not treated promptly and appropriately, diabetic foot infections can lead to septic gangrene and amputation. Foot infections may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe; this largely determines the approach to therapy. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen in these infections, and the increasing incidence of methicillin-resistant S aureus during the past two decades has further complicated antibiotic treatment. Chronic infections are often polymicrobial. Physiologic changes, and local and systemic inflammation, can affect the plasma and tissue pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial agents in diabetic patients, leading to impaired target-site penetration. Knowledge of the serum and tissue concentrations of antibiotics in diabetic patients is, therefore, important for choosing the optimal drug and dose. This article reviews the commonly used therapeutic options for treatment, including many newer antibiotics developed to target multidrug-resistant gram-positive bacteria, and includes available data relating specifically to the tissue penetration of these agents. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(1): 52–63, 2010)
The efficacy of concentrated autologous platelet-derived growth factors in the healing and closure of chronic lower-extremity wounds was evaluated in 24 patients with 33 lower-extremity wounds treated previously for at least 6 months using traditional methods. Surgical wound debridement was performed to convert chronic ulcers into acute wounds. Concentrated autologous platelet-derived growth factors and thrombin were applied to the wound bases and protected with a nonadhering compression dressing that remained intact for 7 days. Wounds were evaluated and the concentrate was reapplied every 2 weeks. Wound closure and complete epithelialization was achieved in 20 wounds. Seventy-five percent or greater wound closure was obtained in three wounds, 50% to 74% closure in three wounds, and 25% to 49% closure in two wounds. Five wounds displayed no improvement. Mean time to complete closure was 11.15 weeks. The application of concentrated autologous platelet-derived growth factors and thrombin resulted in substantial wound healing and wound-diameter reduction. This technique constitutes a safe and effective treatment option and avoids lengthy treatment periods that increase the potential for infection. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(6): 482–488, 2006)
Background: Vaporous hyperoxia therapy (VHT), a patented US Food and Drug Administration 510 (k)–cleared technology, is an adjunct therapy used in conjunction with standard wound care (SWC). Vaporous hyperoxia therapy is said to improve the health of wounded tissue by administering a low-frequency, noncontact, nonthermal, ionic, antimicrobial hydrating mist alternating with concentrated topical oxygen therapy.
Methods: Vaporous hyperoxia therapy was used to treat 36 subjects with chronic diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) that were previously treated unsuccessfully with SWC. The average age of DFUs in the study was 11 months and the average size was over 3 cm2. Wounds were Wagner grade 2 or 3 and most commonly on the plantar surface around the midfoot. Treatment consisted of twice-weekly applications of VHT and wound debridement. Subjects were followed to wound closure, 20 weeks, or 40 treatments, whichever came first.
Results: The combination of SWC and VHT in the group that met and maintained compliance throughout the study period achieved an 83% DFU closure rate within a 20-week period. The average time for DFU closure in this study was 9.4 weeks.
Conclusions: Historical analysis of SWC shows a 30.9% healing rate of all wounds, not differentiating chronic wounds. Accordingly, SWC/VHT increases chronic diabetic foot ulcer healing rates by 2.85 times compared with SWC alone. The purpose of this study was two-fold: first, to observe the effect of VHT on healing rates and time to healing in previously nonhealing DFUs; and second, to compare VHT with SWC, topical oxygen therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and ultrasound therapy.
The Amputation Prevention Initiative is a project conducted jointly by the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Podiatric Medical Society that seeks to study methods to reduce nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations from diabetes.
To determine the rate of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in Massachusetts and identify the groups most at risk, hospital billing and discharge data were analyzed. To examine the components of the diabetic foot examination routinely performed by general practitioners, surveys were conducted in conjunction with physician meetings in Massachusetts (n = 149) and in six other states (n = 490).
The average age-adjusted number of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in 2004 was 30.8 per 100,000 and 5.3 per 1,000 diabetic patients in MA, with high-risk groups being identified as men and black individuals. Among the general practitioners surveyed in Massachusetts, only 2.01% reported routinely conducting all four key components of the diabetic foot examination, with 28.86% reporting not performing any components.
These findings suggest that many general practitioners may be failing to perform the major components of the diabetic foot examination believed to prevent foot ulcers and lower-extremity amputations.
A middle-aged man presented for left foot diabetic ulcer care. Pedal radiographs were negative for signs of osteomyelitis. However, asymptomatic incidental osseous findings demonstrated significant plantar and posterior calcaneal spurring possibly consistent with diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). A differential of DISH, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s, and ankylosing spondylitis was developed. Subsequent spinal imaging and laboratory work-up did not satisfy the diagnostic criteria for DISH. This case illustrates radiographic changes characteristic of multiple seronegative arthropathies. On initial presentation a diagnosis of DISH was most likely, but with further imaging studies a diagnosis of a variant of psoriatic arthritis may be more correct. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102 (5): 422-427, 2012)
Throughout our medical training, we are taught how to manage patients who present with symptoms: perform a clinical examination, make a diagnosis, and develop a management plan. However, virtually no time is spent on teaching us how to manage patients who have no symptoms because they have lost the ability to feel pain, that is, patients with peripheral neuropathy. The lifetime incidence of foot ulceration in people with diabetes has been estimated to be as high as 25%, and a variety of contributory factors result in a foot being at risk for ulceration. Most important among these factors is peripheral neuropathy, or the loss of the ability to feel pain, temperature, or pressure sensation in the feet and lower legs. Up to 50% of older type 2 diabetic patients have evidence of sensory loss, putting them at risk for foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulcers, regular screening for peripheral neuropathy is vital in all patients with diabetes. Those found to have any risk factors for foot ulceration require special education and more frequent review, particularly by podiatric physicians. The key message is, therefore, that neuropathic symptoms correlate poorly with sensory loss and that their absence must never be equated with lack of risk of foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulceration and particularly recurrent ulceration, we must realize that with loss of pain there is also diminished motivation in the healing and prevention of injury. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 349–352, 2010)