Background: We sought to study the impact of foot complications on 10-year mortality independent of other demographic and biological risk factors in a racially and socioeconomically diverse managed-care population with access to high-quality medical care.
Methods: We studied 6,992 patients with diabetes in Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD), a prospective observational study of diabetes care in managed care. Foot complications were assessed using administrative claims data. The National Death Index was searched for deaths across 10 years of follow-up (2000-2009).
Results: Charcot's neuro-osteoarthropathy and diabetic foot ulcer with debridement were associated with an increased risk of mortality; however, the associations were not significant in fully adjusted models. Lower-extremity amputation (LEA) was associated with an increased risk of mortality in unadjusted (hazard ratio [HR], 3.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.50–4.12) and fully adjusted (HR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.28–2.63) models. When we examined the associations between LEA and mortality stratified by sex and race, risk was increased in men (HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.25–3.07), Hispanic individuals (HR, 5.17; 95% CI, 1.48–18.01), and white individuals (HR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.37–3.47). In sensitivity analyses, minor LEA tended to increase the risk of mortality (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 0.92–2.40), and major LEA was associated with a significantly higher risk of death at 10 years (HR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.18–3.01).
Conclusions: In this managed-care population with access to high-quality medical care, LEA remained a robust independent predictor of mortality. The association was strongest in men and differed by race.
Osteomyelitis secondary to diabetic foot infections can lead to proximal amputation if not diagnosed in a timely and accurate manner. The authors have found no studies to date that correlate a specific erythrocyte sedimentation rate with osteomyelitis. A retrospective chart review of 29 diabetic patients admitted to the hospital with diagnoses of osteomyelitis or cellulitis of the foot during a 1-year period was performed. Of the various lab values and demographic factors compared, erythrocyte sedimentation rate was the only measure that differed significantly between the two groups. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to obtain the optimal cutoff value of 70 mm/h, a level above which osteomyelitis was present with the highest sensitivity (89.5%) and highest specificity (100%), along with a positive predictive value of 100% and a negative predictive value of 83%. This study shows that in combination with clinical suspicion in diabetic foot infections, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate is highly predictive of osteomyelitis, and that the value of 70 mm/h is the optimal cutoff to predict accurately the presence or absence of bone infection. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(9): 445-450, 2001)
Achieving timely healing of foot ulcers can help avoid complications such as infection and amputation; topical oxygen therapy has shown promise in achieving this. We evaluated the clinical effectiveness of Granulox, a hemoglobin spray device designed to deliver oxygen to the surface of wounds, for the healing of foot ulcers.
We conducted a single-center, prospective, randomized controlled trial comparing standard of care (once-weekly podiatric medical clinic visits) versus standard care plus adjunct Granulox therapy twice weekly in adults with foot ulcers. After a 2-week screening phase, patients in whom the index wound had healed by less than 50% were randomized 1:1. Outcome measures were collated during the trial phase at 6 and 12 weeks.
Of 79 patients enrolled, 38 were randomized. After 12 weeks, the median percentage wound size reduction compared with the size of the ulcer at the start of the trial phase was 100% for the control arm and 48% for the Granulox arm (P = .21, Mann-Whitney U test). In the former, eight of 14 foot ulcers had healed; in the latter, four of 15 (P = .14, Fisher exact test). In the control arm, two amputations and one withdrawal occurred, whereas in the Granulox arm, one unrelated death and five withdrawals were recorded.
We could not replicate the favorable healing associated with use of Granulox as published by others. Differences in wound chronicity and frequency of Granulox application might have influenced differences in study results. Granulox might perform best when used as an adjunct for treatment of chronic wounds at least 8 weeks old.
Giant cell tumors are benign tumors that are locally aggressive and rare in the foot. Giant cell tumors involving bone in the foot have an incidence of 1.2% to 2.8%, whereas giant cell tumors of the tendon sheath constitute 3% to 5% of all giant cell tumors in the foot and ankle. We present a case of giant cell tumor of the soft tissue disguised as a giant cell tumor of bone in a healthy 29-year-old male patient. Through radiographic and magnetic resonance imaging evaluation, it was determined that this patient had a bone tumor invading the distal and proximal phalanges of his left great toe with the involvement of soft tissue. With the use of the evidence-based medicine and patient expectation, the decision was made to amputate the digit. To much surprise, when the histopathologic results were reviewed, it was determined that the excised lesion was consistent with giant cell tumor of soft tissue that did not involve the bone.
The medical records of 1,047 patients (mean age, 73 years) with established peripheral neuropathy were examined to determine whether treatment with monochromatic infrared photo energy was associated with increased foot sensitivity to the 5.07 Semmes-Weinstein monofilament. The peripheral neuropathy in 790 of these patients (75%) was due to diabetes mellitus. Before treatment with monochromatic infrared photo energy, of the ten tested sites (five on each foot), a mean ± SD of 7.9 ± 2.4 sites were insensitive to the 5.07 Semmes-Weinstein monofilament, and 1,033 patients exhibited loss of protective sensation. After treatment, the mean ± SD number of insensate sites on both feet was 2.3 ± 2.4, an improvement of 71%. Only 453 of 1,033 patients (43.9%) continued to have loss of protective sensation after treatment. Therefore, monochromatic infrared photo energy treatment seems to be associated with significant clinical improvement in foot sensation in patients, primarily Medicare aged, with peripheral neuropathy. Because insensitivity to the 5.07 Semmes-Weinstein monofilament has been reported to be a major risk factor for diabetic foot wounds, the use of monochromatic infrared photo energy may be associated with a reduced incidence of diabetic foot wounds and amputations. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(2): 143–147, 2005)
Homeless people live in poverty, with limited access to public health services. They are likely to experience chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus; however, they do not always receive the necessary services to prevent complications. This study was designed to determine the effectiveness of a volunteer health service outreach to reduce disparity in diabetic foot care for homeless people.
The research was conducted on 21 patients with diabetic ulcers of 930 homeless people visited between 2008 and 2013. Each ulcer was treated with regular medication every week for a mean ± SD of 17.6 ± 12 months. The inclusion criteria were 1) homeless with a previous diagnosis of diabetes or a blood glucose level greater than 126 mg/dL at first check and 2) foot ulcer caused by diabetic vasculopathy or neuropathy. The efficacy of the interventions was assessed against the number of successfully cured diabetic feet based on a reduced initial Wagner classification score for each ulcer.
Clinical improvement was observed in 18 patients (86%), whose pathologic condition was completely resolved after 3 years and, therefore, no longer needed medication. One patient died of septic shock and kidney failure, and two patients needed amputation owing to clinical worsening of ulcers (Wagner class 4 at the last visit).
Most homeless people who have diabetes and diabetic foot encounter many difficulties managing their disease, and a volunteer health-care unit could be a suitable option to bridge these gaps.
Foot problems are common in diabetic patients, with neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease being the main causative factors. Identification of high-risk feet can be accomplished by using basic clinical skills and simple equipment. Limb amputation is the most preventable of the long-term diabetes complications and a multidisciplinary approach can achieve a dramatic reduction of major limb amputations.
Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by vascular thrombosis involving both the arterial and venous systems that can lead to tissue ischemia or end-organ damage. Much of the literature describes various symptoms at initial presentation, but isolated tissue ischemia manifesting as a solitary blue toe is unusual. We discuss a case of a 23-year-old man who presented to the emergency department with a solitary blue fourth digit with minimal erythema and edema, who was suffering from exquisite pain. Following an extensive workup, the patient was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombi of the vasculature in their lower extremity. With therapeutic anticoagulation, the patient's symptoms subsided and amputation of the digit was prevented.
The authors undertook a study to evaluate the prevalence of ankle equinus and its potential relationship to high plantar pressure in a large, urban population with diabetes mellitus. The first 1,666 consecutive people with diabetes (50.3% male; mean [±SD] age, 69.1 ± 11.1 years) presenting to a large, urban, managed-care outpatient clinic were enrolled in this longitudinal, 2-year outcomes study. Patients received a standardized medical and musculoskeletal assessment at the time of enrollment, including evaluation at an onsite gait laboratory. Equinus was defined as less than 0° of dorsiflexion at the ankle. The overall prevalence of equinus in this population was 10.3%. Patients with equinus had significantly higher peak plantar pressures than those without the deformity and were at nearly three times greater risk for presenting with elevated plantar pressures. There were no significant differences in age, weight, or sex between the two groups. However, patients with equinus had a significantly longer duration of diabetes than those without equinus. Having a high index of suspicion for this deformity and subsequently addressing it through conservative or surgical means may help to reduce the risk of foot ulceration and amputation. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(9): 479-482, 2002)
While there have been several reports of upper and lower extremity amputations secondary to meningitis and purpura fulminans in the literature, the incidence is probably rare. Delmas et al studied five pediatric subjects with gangrene caused by meningococcemia, with four requiring amputation. Weiner reported that all 12 patients in his review received a lower extremity amputation, with several requiring upper extremity amputation. Joint contracture, while not as commonly discussed as amputation, is nonetheless an important and perhaps more common finding. Urbaniak et al indicated that of six patients reviewed, three developed significant joint contractures. With the exception of the gangrenous changes discussed, it was joint contracture that was the most limiting factor in progression to full activity and weightbearing in the authors' subject. Prompt, aggressive physical therapy is tantamount to effecting an acceptable long-term outcome.