The preferred primary treatment of toe osteomyelitis in diabetic patients is controversial. We compared the outcome of primary nonoperative antibiotic treatment versus digital amputation in patients with diabetes-related chronic digital osteomyelitis.
We conducted a retrospective medical record review of patients treated for digital osteomyelitis at a single center. Patients were divided into two groups according to initial treatment: 1) nonoperative treatment with intravenous antibiotics and 2) amputation of the involved toe or ray. Duration of hospitalization, number of rehospitalizations, and rate of below- or above-the-knee major amputations were evaluated.
The nonoperative group comprised 39 patients and the operative group included 21 patients. The mean ± SD total duration of hospitalization was 24.05 ± 15.43 and 20.67 ± 15.97 days, respectively (P = .43). The mean ± SD number of rehospitalizations after infection recurrence was 2.62 ± 1.63 and 1.67 ± 1.24, respectively (P = .02). During follow-up, the involved digit was eventually amputated in 13 of the 39 nonoperatively treated patients (33.3%). The rate of major amputation (above- or below-knee amputation was four of 39 (10.3%) and three of 21 (14.3%), respectively (P = .69).
Despite a higher rate of rehospitalizations and a high failure rate, in patients with mild and limited digital foot osteomyelitis in the absence of sepsis it may be reasonable to offer a primary nonoperative treatment for digital osteomyelitis of the foot.
This historical perspective highlights some of the pioneers, milestones, teams, and system changes that have had a major impact on management of the diabetic foot during the past 100 years. In 1934, American diabetologist Elliott P. Joslin noted that mortality from diabetic coma had fallen from 60% to 5% after the introduction of insulin, yet deaths from diabetic gangrene of the lower extremity had risen significantly. He believed that diabetic gangrene was preventable. His remedy was a team approach that included foot care, diet, exercise, prompt treatment of foot infections, and specialized surgical care.
The history of the team approach to management of the diabetic foot chronicles the rise of a new health profession—podiatric medicine and surgery—and emergence of the specialty of vascular surgery. The partnership among the diabetologist, vascular surgeon, and podiatric surgeon is a natural one. The complementary skills and knowledge of each can improve limb salvage and functional outcomes. Comprehensive multidisciplinary foot-care programs have been shown to increase quality of care and reduce amputation rates by 36% to 86%. Development of distal revascularization techniques to restore pulsatile blood flow to the foot has also been a major advancement.
Patients with diabetic foot complications are among the most complex and vulnerable of all patient populations. Specialized diabetic foot clinics of the 21st century should be multidisciplinary and equipped to coordinate diagnosis, off-loading, and preventive care; to perform revascularization procedures; to aggressively treat infections; and to manage medical comorbidities. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 317–334, 2010)
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail that can be caused by dermatophytes, yeasts, or nondermatophyte molds. To diagnose onychomycosis, a clinician must use the patient's history, physical findings, and diagnostic testing, which can include calcofluor white/potassium hydroxide (KOH) mount, fungal culture (FC), and periodic acid–Schiff (PAS) stain. Some insurance companies require authorization for antifungal medication and request laboratory results to confirm infection. We sought to compare the reliability of KOH, PAS, and FC diagnostic results for confirmation of fungal disease, to determine the sensitivity and specificity of each test, and to investigate the cost of each test. In addition, we statistically observed the relationship between the test results and demographic variables.
Toenail clippings were obtained from 108 patients clinically diagnosed as having onychomycosis. Diagnostic tests were then performed on each sample; the results were obtained from medical records.
For PAS, KOH, and FC, 60.2%, 43.5%, and 39.8% of results, respectively, were positive. Agreement for each pair of tests was slightly higher for FC and KOH. Sensitivities for KOH and PAS were 0.64 and 0.79, respectively. Specificity was 0.79 for KOH and 0.54 for PAS. Both PAS and KOH had a higher percentage of positive test results for men than for women.
Of the three tests evaluated, PAS gives the most consistent positive results and has the highest sensitivity. Therefore, PAS should be considered as the best test to verify clinically significant onychomycosis.
Onychomycosis, by definition, is a mycotic infection of the keratinized tissue of the nail plate. Although it is commonly considered to be caused by one of the dermatotropic fungi, a variety of other organisms have been implicated as etiologic agents in the disease, including some bacteria and yeasts. When it is caused by a fungus, any or all of three types of organisms can be involved: dermatophytes, yeasts, and nondermatophyte organisms. The purpose of this study was to identify the microorganisms found in fungal cultures of clinically suspected onychomycosis in the patient population of the Foot Clinics of New York in New York City, the largest foot clinic in the world. Of the 1,800 medical charts reviewed, 214 had culture results, of which 120 were positive. Trichophyton rubrum was the most prevalent pathogen, found in 67% of positive cultures. The most remarkable risk factor was age, with 80% of affected individuals older than 35 years. False-negatives may account for the high percentage (44%) of negative cultures in this study. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(6): 327-330, 2002)
The incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the US has increased over the past decade. This increase has effected concern regarding the risks of HIV infection within the podiatric medical practice. Implementation of an effective infection control program for blood-borne pathogens within the podiatric medical practice can minimize such risks.
Surgical Treatment of Pressure Ulcers of the Heel in Skilled Nursing Facilities
A 12-Year Retrospective Study of 57 Patients
Background: Chronic nonhealing pressure ulcers of the heel in nursing homes are frequent occurrences among bedridden patients with lower-extremity contractures of varying degrees of severity. Conservative local wound care for these patients can be time consuming, ineffective, costly, and may only delay an eventual major leg amputation. This study evaluates the efficacy of limb salvage surgical procedures, partial calcanectomy, total calcanectomy, and excision of the entire calcaneus and talus, for heel ulcers.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 57 nursing home residents who had chronic infected nonhealing pressure ulcers of the heel that we had treated over 12 years. Forty-three patients underwent partial calcanectomy, nine underwent total calcanectomy, and five underwent excision of the entire calcaneus and talus. Average postoperative follow-up was 15 months. Also included in this study are representative surgical cases.
Results: Forty-three patients completed follow-up. Complete healing occurred in 25 patients (58%). Failure to resolve the heel ulcer owing to persistent infection, or recurrence was seen in 18 patients (42%) who eventually had a below-the-knee or above-the-knee amputation. All of the patients with heel pressure ulcers were found to have lower-extremity contractures.
Conclusions: In the nonambulatory contracted patient with a heel ulcer, partial or total calcanectomy or excision of the entire calcaneus and talus offer a viable alternative not only for resolution of infection but also for prevention of limb loss. An aggressive plan must also be instituted to address the lower-extremity contractures in order to prevent recurrence. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(2): 167–175, 2011)
The increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and the frequency of comorbid conditions of patients make the treatment of diabetic foot infections problematic. In this context, photodynamic therapy could be a useful tool to treat infected wounds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of repeated applications of a phthalocyanine derivative (RLP068) on the bacterial load and on the healing process.
The present analysis was performed on patients with clinically infected ulcers who had been treated with RLP068. A sample for microbiological culture was collected at the first visit before and immediately after the application of RLP068 on the ulcer surface, and the area was illuminated for 8 minutes with a red light. The whole procedure was repeated three times per week at two centers (Florence and Arezzo, Italy) (sample A), and two times per week at the third center (Stuttgart, Germany) (sample B) for 2 weeks.
Sample A and sample B were composed of 55 and nine patients, respectively. In sample A, bacterial load decreased significantly after a single treatment, and the benefit persisted for 2 weeks. Similar effects of the first treatment were observed in sample B. In both samples, the ulcer area showed a significant reduction during follow-up, even in patients with ulcers infected with gram-negative germs or with exposed bone.
RLP068 seems to be a promising topical wound management procedure for the treatment of infected diabetic foot ulcers.
Onychomycosis is the most common nail disorder, with a global prevalence of approximately 5.5%. It is difficult to cure on both short-term and long-term bases. The most common treatments include the use of oral or topical antifungals. Recurrent infections are common, and the use of systemic oral antifungals raises concerns of hepatotoxicity and drug-drug interactions, particularly in patients with polypharmacy. A number of device-based treatments have been developed for onychomycosis treatment, to either directly treat fungal infection or act as adjuvants to increase the efficacy of topical and oral agents. These device-based treatments have been increasing in popularity over the past several years, and include photodynamic therapy, iontophoresis, plasma, microwaves, ultrasound, nail drilling, and lasers. Some, such as photodynamic therapy, provide more direct treatment, whereas others, such as ultrasound and nail drilling, aid the uptake of traditional antifungals. We conducted a systematic literature search investigating the efficacy of these device-based treatment methods. From an initial result of 841 studies, 26 were deemed relevant to the use of device-based treatments of onychomycosis. This review examines these methods and provides insight into the state of clinical research for each. Many device-based treatments show promising results, but require more research to assess their true impact on onychomycosis.
Onychomycosis is a chronic nail infection caused by dermatophytes, Candida, nondermatophyte molds, and Trichosporon. The purpose of this study was to identify the underlying pathogen in patients with onychomycosis in our region.
A retrospective analysis of 225 cases with onychomycosis, diagnosed over a 27-month period at the Department of Dermatoveneorology, Bezmialem Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey, and confirmed with culture, was performed.
Patient age ranged from 2 to 87 years (mean ± SD, 41.59 ± 17.61), and female patients were more commonly affected (120 cases, 53.3%) than male patients. Lateral and distal subungual onychomycosis was detected in 180 cases (80%). Etiologic agents were as follows: Trichophyton rubrum, 77 cases (34.2%); Trichophyton mentagrophytes, 30 cases (13.3%), Candida albicans, 28 cases (12.4%); Candida parapsilosis, 25 cases (11.1%); Acremonium species, one case (0.4%); Aspergillus species, two cases (0.9%); Fusarium species, four cases (1.3%); and Trichosporon species, three cases (1.3%).
The most frequent isolated etiologic agents were T rubrum for toenails and C albicans for fingernails.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is both sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis, and it is an important imaging modality in preoperative planning of resection of infected bone. In many cases, however, the extent of osseous infection is evident on plain radiographs, and little additional information is gained from the MRI. The goal of this study was to assess the accuracy of radiographs against MRIs in assessing the spread of suspected osteomyelitis from one phalanx to another or to a metatarsal.
A medical record review was performed, and 14 patients with 16 toes confirmed to have osteomyelitis involving one or more phalanges were included in the study. An investigator blinded to the MRI findings interpreted the extent of osseous involvement based solely on the radiographic and clinical presentation. The accuracy of the radiographic interpretation was then calculated against the MRI findings.
In 14 of the 16 toes (87.5%), whether osteomyelitis had spread from one bone to another was determined based on the radiographic and clinical presentation. In one toe, the radiograph did not adequately depict osteomyelitis in adjacent infected bone. In one more toe, the radiograph depicted features of osteomyelitis in uninfected bone.
In a large percentage of patients, the phalanges affected by osteomyelitis had visible findings on the radiograph, and operative planning could have been based on the radiograph alone.