Background: Diabetic lower-extremity disease is the primary driver of mortality in patients with diabetes. Amputations at the forefoot or ankle preserve limb length, increase function, and, ultimately, reduce deconditioning and mortality compared with higher-level amputations, such as below-the-knee amputations (BKAs). We sought to identify risk factors associated with amputation level to understand barriers to length-preserving amputations (LPAs).
Methods: Diabetic lower-extremity admissions were extracted from the 2012-2014 National Inpatient Survey using ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. The main outcome was a two-level variable consisting of LPAs (transmetatarsal, Syme, and Chopart) versus BKAs. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine contributions of patient- and hospital-level factors to likelihood of undergoing LPA versus BKA.
Results: The study cohort represented 110,355 admissions nationally: 42,375 LPAs and 67,980 BKAs. The population was predominantly white (56.85%), older than 50 years (82.55%), and male (70.38%). On multivariate analysis, living in an urban area (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.48; P < .0001) and having vascular intervention in the same hospital stay (RRR = 2.96; P < .0001) were predictive of LPA. Patients from rural locations but treated in urban centers were more likely to receive BKA. Minorities were more likely to present with severe disease, limiting delivery of LPAs. A high Elixhauser comorbidity score was related to BKA receipt.
Conclusions: This study identifies delivery biases in amputation level for patients without access to large, urban hospitals. Rural patients seeking care in these centers are more likely to receive higher-level amputations. Further examination is required to determine whether earlier referral to multidisciplinary centers is more effective at reducing BKA rates versus satellite centers in rural localities.
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.
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.
The principles of amputee rehabilitation, from preamputation to reintegration into the work force and community, are reviewed. The authors discuss exercise techniques, training programs, and environmental modifications that have been found to be helpful in the rehabilitation of the amputee. The exercise programs presented here are divided into four main components: flexibility, muscle strength, cardiovascular training, and balance and gait. The programs include interventions by the physical, occupational, and recreational therapist under the supervision and guidance of a physician. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(1): 13-22, 2001)
Fifteen percent of individuals with diabetes will likely develop foot ulcers in their lifetime, and approximately 15% to 20% of these ulcers are estimated to result in lower extremity amputation. Techniques to prevent lower extremity amputation range from the simple but often neglected foot inspection to complicated vascular and reconstructive foot surgery. Appropriate management can prevent and heal diabetic foot ulcers, thereby greatly decreasing the amputation rate and medical care costs. Prevention is the key to treatment. The author discusses general guidelines for foot screening and identifies three specific goals for prevention of amputation: 1) identification of at risk individuals needing prevention and the specific factors placing them at risk; 2) protection of the foot against the adverse effects of external forces (pressure, friction, and shear); and 3) reduction of the incidence of diabetic foot ulcers through educational programs.
Background: Along with significant case transmission, hospitalizations, and mortality experienced during the global severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic, there existed a disruption in the delivery of health care across multiple specialties. We studied the effect of the pandemic on inpatients with diabetic foot problems in a Level I trauma center in central Ohio.
Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients necessitating a consultation by the foot and ankle surgery service were reviewed from the first 8 months of 2020. A total of 270 patients met the inclusion criteria and were divided into prepandemic (n = 120) and pandemic groups (n = 150). Data regarding demographics, medical history, severity of current infection, and medical or surgical management were collected and analyzed.
Results: The odds of undergoing any level of amputation was 10.8 times higher during the pandemic versus before the pandemic. The risk of major amputations (below-the-knee or higher) likewise increased, with an odds ratio of 12.5 among all patients in the foot and ankle service during the pandemic. Of the patients undergoing any amputation, the odds for undergoing a major amputation was 3.1 times higher than before the pandemic. In addition, the severity of infections increased during the pandemic, and a larger proportion of the cases were classified as emergent in the pandemic group compared to the prepandemic group.
Conclusions: The effect of the pandemic on the health-care system has had a deleterious effect on people with diabetes mellitus (DM)–related foot problems, resulting in more severe infections and more emergencies, and necessitating more amputations. When an amputation was performed, the likelihood that it was a major amputation also increased.
Despite advancements in the treatment of diabetic patients with “at-risk” limbs, minor and major amputations remain commonplace. The diabetic population is especially prone to surgical complications from lower extremity amputation because of comorbidities such as renal disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, microvascular and macrovascular disease, and peripheral neuropathy. Complication occurrence may result in increases in hospital stay duration, unplanned readmission rate, mortality rate, number of operations, and incidence of infection. Skin flap necrosis and wound healing delay secondary to inadequate perfusion of soft tissues continues to result in significant morbidity, mortality, and cost to individuals and the health-care system. Intraoperative indocyanine green fluorescent angiography for the assessment of tissue perfusion may be used to assess tissue perfusion in this patient population to minimize complications associated with amputations. This technology provides real-time functional assessment of the macrovascular and microvascular systems in addition to arterial and venous flow to and from the flap soft tissues. This case study explores the use of indocyanine green fluorescent angiography for the treatment of a diabetic patient with a large dorsal and plantar soft-tissue deficit and need for transmetatarsal amputation with nontraditional rotational flap coverage. The authors theorize that the use of indocyanine green may decrease postoperative complications and cost to the health-care system through fewer readmissions and fewer procedures.
Background: The deep plantar arterial arch (DPAA) is formed by an anastomosis between the deep plantar artery and the lateral plantar artery. The potential risk of injury to the DPAA is concerning when performing transmetatarsal amputations, and care must be taken to preserve the anatomy. We sought to determine the positional anatomy of the DPAA based on anatomical landmarks that could be easily identified and palpated during transmetatarsal amputation.
Methods: In an effort to improve our understanding of the positional relationship of the DPAA to the distal metatarsal parabola, dissections were performed on 45 cadaveric feet to measure the location of the DPAA with respect to the distal metatarsal epiphyses. Images of the dissected specimens were digitally acquired and saved for measurement using in-house–written software. The mean, SD, SEM, and 95% confidence interval were calculated for all of the measurement parameters and are reported on pooled data and by sex. An independent-samples t test was used to assess for sex differences. Interrater reliability of the measurements was estimated using the intraclass correlation coefficient.
Results: The origin of the DPAA was located a mean ± SD of 35.6 ± 3.9 mm (95% confidence interval, 34.5–36.8 mm) proximal to the perpendicular line connecting the first and fifth metatarsal heads. The average interrater reliability across all of the measurements was 0.921.
Conclusions: This study provides the positional relationship of the DPAA with respect to the distal metatarsal parabola. This method is easily reproducible and may assist the foot and ankle surgeon with surgical planning and approach when performing partial pedal amputation.
Background: Diabetic foot infections (DFIs) can lead to limb loss and mortality. To improve patient care at a safety-net teaching hospital, we created a multidisciplinary limb salvage service (LSS).
Methods: We recruited a cohort prospectively and compared it to a historical control group. Adults admitted to the newly established LSS for DFI during a 6-month period from 2016 to 2017 were included prospectively. Patients admitted to the LSS had routine endocrine and infectious diseases consultations according to a standardized protocol. A retrospective analysis of patients admitted to the acute care surgical service for DFI before creation of the LSS during an 8-month period from 2014 to 2015 was performed.
Results: A total of 250 patients were divided into two groups: the pre-LSS (n = 92) and the LSS (n = 158) groups. There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics. Although all patients were ultimately diagnosed with diabetes, more patients in the LSS group had hypertension (71% versus 56%; P = .01) and a prior diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (92% versus 63%; P < .001) compared to the pre-LSS group. Significantly, with the LSS, fewer patients underwent a below-the-knee amputation (3.6% versus 13%; P = .001). There was no difference in the length of hospital stay or 30-day readmission rate between the groups. Further broken down into Hispanic versus non-Hispanic, we noted that Hispanics had significantly lower rates of below-the-knee amputations (3.6% versus 13.0%; P = .02) in the LSS cohort.
Conclusions: The initiation of a multidisciplinary LSS decreased the below-the-knee amputation rate in patients with DFIs. Length of stay was not increased, nor was the 30-day readmission rate affected. These results suggest that a robust multidisciplinary LSS dedicated to the management of DFIs is both feasible and effective, even in safety-net hospitals.
The authors compare the level of foot amputation by age, prevalence of arterial disease as a precipitating factor, gender, and ethnicity in persons with diabetes mellitus. Medical records were abstracted for each hospitalization for a lower extremity amputation from January 1 to December 31, 1993, in six metropolitan statistical areas in south Texas. Amputation level was defined by ICD-9-CM codes and were categorized as foot, leg, and thigh amputations. Foot-level amputations were further subcategorized as hallux or first ray, middle, fifth, multiple digit or ray, and midfoot amputations. Only the highest amputation level for each individual was used in the analysis. Of 1,043 subjects undergoing a lower extremity amputation in south Texas in the year 1993, 477 received their amputation at the level of the foot. African-Americans requiring a foot-level amputation were at significantly higher risk to undergo a midfoot-level amputation than was the rest of the population. Nearly 40% of all subjects undergoing a foot-level amputation had a previous history of amputation. However, nearly 40% of subjects undergoing foot amputations had not been diagnosed either before or during admission with peripheral arterial occlusive disease, suggesting a causal pathway dependent primarily on neuropathy. This implies that better screening of diabetic patients with appropriate risk-directed treatment at the primary care level may significantly impact the large number of preventable diabetes-related lower extremity amputations.