Addressing pressure reduction in the treatment of diabetic foot wounds is a critical component of therapy. The total-contact cast has proven to be the gold standard of treatment because of its ability to reduce pressure and facilitate patient adherence to the off-loading regimen. Removable cast walkers have proven to be as effective as total-contact casts in pressure reduction, but this has not translated into equivalent time to healing. A simple technique to convert the removable cast walker into a device that is not as easily detached from the lower extremity, thereby encouraging the use of this device over a 24-hour period, is presented in this article. The procedure involves wrapping the cast walker with cohesive bandage or plaster of Paris. In the authors’ opinion, this technique addresses many of the disadvantages of the total-contact cast, resulting in an adequate compromise in this aspect of care. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(7): 405-408, 2002)
Background: This study was undertaken to assess the benefits of negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) versus traditional wound therapies in reducing the incidence of lower-extremity amputations in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Methods: Administrative claims data for patients with diabetic foot ulcers from commercial payers (n = 3,524) and Medicare (n = 12,795) were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided into NPWT and control/traditional therapy groups on the basis of administrative codes. Risk-adjustment procedures were then performed to match patient risk categories (through total treatment costs) and wound severities (through debridement depth).
Results: The incidence of amputations in the NPWT groups was lower than that in the control groups. For the cost-based risk-adjustment analysis, amputation incidences with NPWT versus traditional therapy were 35% lower in the Medicare sample (10.8% versus 16.6%; P = .0077) and 34% lower in the commercial payer sample (14.1% versus 21.4%; P = .0951). Whereas overall amputation rates increased progressively with increasing wound debridement depth in both control groups, the same increasing trend did not occur in the NPWT groups.
Conclusions: Patients with diabetic foot ulcers in the Medicare sample treated with NPWT had a lower incidence of amputations than those undergoing traditional wound therapy; this finding was evident in wounds of varying depth in both populations studied. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(5): 351–359, 2007)
Remote ischemic conditioning involves the use of a blood pressure cuff or similar device to induce brief (3–5 min) episodes of limb ischemia. This, in turn, seems to activate a group of distress signals that has shown the potential ability to improve healing of the heart muscle and other organ systems. Until recently, this has not been tested in people with diabetic foot ulcers. The purpose of this review was to provide background on remote ischemic conditioning and recent data to potentially support its use as an adjunct to healing diabetic foot ulcers and other types of tissue loss. We believe that this inexpensive therapy has the potential to be deployed and incorporated into a variety of other therapies to prime patients for healing and to reduce morbidity in patients with this common, complex, and costly complication.
It is well known that interleukin-18 (IL-18) plays a key role in the inflammatory process. However, there are limited data on the role IL-18 plays with diabetic foot ulcers, an acute and complex inflammatory situation. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate serum IL-18 levels of diabetic patients with foot ulcers.
Twenty diabetic patients with acute foot ulcers, 21 diabetic patients without a history of foot ulcers, and 21 healthy volunteers were enrolled in our study. Circulating levels of IL-18, and other biochemical markers are parameters of inflammation and were measured in all three groups.
Diabetic patients both with and without foot ulcers had high IL-18 concentrations (P < 0.001 and P = 0.020, respectively) when compared with the nondiabetic volunteers. Those with foot ulcers had higher levels of IL-18 level (P < 0.001), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) (P = 0.001), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (P < 0.001) than those without foot ulcers.
We found that serum IL-18 concentrations were elevated in diabetic patients with acute diabetic foot ulcers. However, these findings do not indicate whether the IL-18 elevation is a cause or a result of the diabetic foot ulceration. Further studies are needed to show the role of IL-18 in the course of these ulcers.
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)
One of the challenges after central ray resection is a large soft-tissue defect. Many authors have reported the use of external fixators as a means of narrowing the forefoot. Ours is the first article to report an interesting case using widely available and inexpensive tools such as Kirschner and cerclage wires as an external fixation means of narrowing the forefoot after a complete second-ray resection and extensive soft-tissue debridement for a severe diabetic foot ulcer. This simple yet inexpensive technique is easy to perform for any foot and ankle surgeon at any hospital or surgical center.
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.
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.
Intralesional epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been available as a medication in Turkey since 2012. We present the results of our experience using intralesional EGF in Turkey for patients with diabetic foot wounds.
A total of 174 patients from 25 Turkish medical centers were evaluated for this retrospective study. We recorded the data on enrolled individuals on custom-designed patient follow-up forms. Patients received intralesional injections of 75 μg of EGF three times per week and were monitored daily for adverse reactions to treatment. Patients were followed up for varying periods after termination of EGF treatments.
Median treatment duration was 4 weeks, and median frequency of EGF administration was 12 doses. Complete response (granulation tissue >75% or wound closure) was observed in 116 patients (66.7%). Wounds closed with only EGF administration in 81 patients (46.6%) and in conjunction with various surgical interventions after EGF administration in 65 patients (37.3%). Overall, 146 of the wounds (83.9%) were closed at the end of therapy. Five patients (2.9%) required major amputation. Adverse effects were reported in 97 patients (55.7%).
In patients with diabetic foot ulcer who received standard care, additional intralesional EGF application after infection control provided high healing rates with low amputation rates.
Although numerous studies suggest the benefit of electrical stimulation (E-Stim) therapy to accelerate wound healing, the underlying mechanism of action is still debated. In this pilot study, we examined the potential effectiveness of lower-extremity E-Stim therapy to improve tissue perfusion in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Thirty-eight patients with diabetic foot ulcers underwent 60 min of active E-Stim therapy on acupuncture points above the level of the ankle joint using a bioelectric stimulation technology platform. Perfusion changes in response to E-Stim were assessed by measuring skin perfusion pressure (SPP) at baseline and during 30 and 60 min of therapy; retention was assessed 10 min after therapy. Tissue oxygen saturation (SatO2) was measured using a noninvasive near-infrared camera.
Skin perfusion pressure increased in response to E-Stim therapy (P = .02), with maximum improvement observed at 60 min (11%; P = .007) compared with baseline; SPP reduced 10 min after therapy but remained higher than baseline (9%; P = .1). Magnitude of improvement at 60 min was negatively correlated with baseline SPP values (r = –0.45; P = .01), suggesting that those with lower perfusion could benefit more from E-Stim therapy. Similar trends were observed for SatO2, with statistically significant improvement for a subsample (n = 16) with moderate-to-severe peripheral artery disease.
This study provides early results on the feasibility and effectiveness of E-Stim therapy to improve skin perfusion and SatO2. The magnitude of benefit is higher in those with poorer skin perfusion. Also, the effects of E-Stim could be washed out after stopping therapy, and regular daily application might be required for effective benefit in wound healing.