Background: We sought to determine the similarity of pathogens isolated from soft tissue and bone in patients with diabetic foot infections. It is widely believed that soft-tissue cultures are adequate in the determination of causative bacteria in patients with diabetic foot osteomyelitis. The culture results of specimens taken concurrently from soft-tissue and bone infections show that the former does not predict the latter with sufficient reliability. We sought to determine the similarity of pathogens isolated from soft tissue and bone in patients with diabetic foot infections.
Methods: Forty-five patients with diabetic foot infections were enrolled in the study. Patients had to have clinically suspected foot lesions of grade 3 or higher on the Wagner classification system. In patients with clinically suspected osteomyelitis, magnetic resonance imaging, scintigraphy, or histopathologic examination were performed. Bone and deep soft tissue specimens were obtained from all patients by open surgical procedures under aseptic conditions during debridement or amputation. The specimens were compared only with the other specimens taken from the same patients.
Results: The results of bone and soft-tissue cultures were identical in 49% (n = 22) of cases. In 11% (n = 5) of cases there were no common pathogens. In 29% (n = 13) of cases there were more pathogens in the soft-tissue specimens; these microorganisms included microbes isolated from bone cultures. In four patients (9%) with culture-positive soft-tissue specimens, bone culture specimens remained sterile. In one patient (2%) with culture-positive bone specimen, soft-tissue specimen remained sterile.
Conclusion: Culture specimens should be obtained from both the bone and the overlying deep soft tissue in patients with suspected osteomyelitis whose clinical conditions are suitable. The decision to administer antibiotic therapy should depend on these results. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 290–295, 2008)
We describe a 70-year-old nonimmunocompromised woman with spontaneous bilateral ankle and midfoot sepsis and a deep-space abscess of the right lower leg. Salvage of both limbs was achieved by aggressive bilateral soft-tissue and osseous debridement, including a four-compartment fasciotomy of the right lower leg, antibiotic-loaded polymethyl methacrylate bone cement implantation, delayed allogeneic bone grafting of the osseous defects impregnated with autologous platelet-rich plasma bilaterally, and external fixation immobilization, implantable bone growth stimulation, and split-thickness skin graft coverage of the right lower leg, ankle, and foot. Osseous incorporation of the bone grafts bilaterally occurred 8 weeks after surgery. No soft-tissue or osseous complications occurred during the postoperative period or at 18-month follow-up except for arthrofibrosis in the right ankle; there was no evidence of recurrent abscesses, sequestrum, or wound-related problems. A review of the literature regarding bilateral pedal sepsis and the techniques used for limb salvage in this patient are presented in detail. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(2): 139–147, 2006)
A rare and unusual case of plasma cell dyscrasia of the calcaneus is presented. Clinically, the patient had a draining and painful ulcer that was treated with appropriate antibiotics and wound care but failed to show any signs of healing. Radiographic images showed cystic changes of the calcaneus in the vicinity of the ulcer. Blood work was negative for bone and soft-tissue infection, but uric acid and alkaline phosphatase levels were elevated. Nuclear bone scan showed increased uptake in the calcaneus suggestive of osteomyelitis. One possible differential diagnosis was an intraosseous gouty tophus deposit. Not convinced that this was either a bone infection or gout, the author performed a bone biopsy. Pathologic evaluation indicated plasma cell dyscrasia. Continued wound care healed the ulcer completely, with resolution of pain of his heel. Oncology/hematology was consulted, and 16 months after biopsy, he remains asymptomatic.
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.
On a national level, heroin-related hospital admissions have reached an all-time high. With the foot being the fourth most common injection site, heroin-related lower-extremity infections have become more prevalent owing to many factors, including drug preparation, injection practices, and unknown additives.
We present a 16-month case series in which eight patients with lower-extremity infections secondary to heroin abuse presented to The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Three cases of osteomyelitis were seen. All of the infections were cultured and yielded a wide array of microbes, including Staphyloccoccus, Streptococcus, Bacillus, Serratia, Prevotella, and Eikenella. All of the patients were treated with intravenous antibiotic agents, with nearly all receiving combination therapy. Seven of the eight patients underwent surgery during their hospital stay, with two undergoing amputation. Only half of the patients followed up after discharge.
This case series brings to light many considerations in the diagnosis and management of the heroin user, including multivariable attenuation of immunity, existing predisposition to infection backed by unsterile drug preparation and injection practices, innocuous presentation of deep infections, microbial spectrum, and recommendations on antimicrobial intervention, noncompliance, and poor follow-up. By having greater knowledge in unique considerations of diagnosis and treatment, more efficient care can be provided to this unique patient population.
Bite wounds of the lower extremities present a challenge in diagnosis and management. Primary care of the initial injury remains controversial. Innocuous as these wounds may appear, severe infections are frequent. The microbial flora of the animal mouth harbor a multitude of unusual bacteria, aerobic and anaerobic, that make antibiotic selection difficult. A protocol for initial management and antibiotic selection is presented.
Reconstruction of large bone defects of the metatarsals, whether resulting from trauma, infection, or a neoplastic process, can be especially challenging when attempting to maintain an anatomical parabola and basic biomechanical stability of the forefoot. We present the case of a 42-year-old man with no significant medical history who presented to the emergency department following a severe lawnmower injury to the left forefoot resulting in a large degloving type injury along the medial aspect of the left first ray extending to the level of the medial malleolus. The patient underwent emergent debridement with application of antibiotic bone cement, external fixation, and a negative-pressure dressing. He was subsequently treated with split-thickness skin graft and iliac crest tricortical autograft using a locking plate construct for reconstruction of the distal first ray. Although the patient failed to advance to radiographic osseous union, clinically there was no motion at the attempted fusion site and no pain with ambulation, suggestive of a pseudoarthrosis. The patient has since progressed to full nonpainful weightbearing in regular shoes and has returned to normal activities of daily living. The patient returned to his preinjury level of work and has had complete resolution of all wounds including his split-thickness skin graft donor site. This case shows the potential efficacy of the Masquelet technique for spanning significant traumatic bone defects of the metatarsals involving complete loss of the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, and Thromboembolic Disease
Although many medical problems are generally managed in concert with a general medical physician, it is important for the podiatric physician to be familiar with some of the major diseases of the lung. Pneumonia, an infectious process within the lung, is the sixth-leading overall cause of death. Antibiotic treatment, oxygen administration, and supportive care are the mainstays of its therapy. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presents as a spectrum from chronic bronchitis, with a greater inflammatory component, to emphysema, with a more significant destructive component. Asthma, often a more episodic chronic obstructive disease, is characterized by inflammation of the airways leading to their narrowing. The work of breathing is often increased in these diseases, and treatment is with combination therapies with a focus on smoking cessation. Thromboembolic disease, the occlusion of blood vessels with consequent interruption of blood flow, may occur in a patient with risk factors, especially after surgery. Treatment is with anticoagulation agents or in some cases with thrombolysis. Prophylaxis is key. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(2): 157-167, 2004)
The Tacoma–Pierce County Department of Health, the Pierce County Antibiotic Resistance Task Force, and the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) designed an intervention to determine whether nail salon infection control practices could be improved by educating salon employees and their customers about good infection control practices.
Twenty intervention salons and 26 control salons completed the 3-month study. The intervention group received a letter asking them to “join our campaign to promote healthy people in healthy communities … .” Two DOL pamphlets on cleaning and disinfecting and a tent card with important infection control reminders—targeted to clients on one side and to salon workers on the other side—were also included. Outreach workers from the health department visited 25 (of the original 27) intervention salons once and talked about the materials included in the mailing. Inspection infractions were used to measure compliance with infection control practices. Each salon was inspected by the DOL at baseline, within 1 month after the educational mailing, and within 1 month after an outreach visit from the local health department.
Both groups exhibited statistically significant decreases in infractions; however, the intervention group exhibited a higher and more significant decrease in infractions than the control group.
The intervention and control groups underwent three DOL inspections, which may have resulted in a Hawthorne Effect, with both groups seeing a statistically significant decline in infractions after inspection visits. The more significant decrease in the number of infractions cited in the intervention salons may be due to the educational materials and the health education site visit they received.
In the case reported, M. fortuitum was sensitive in vitro to amikacin, erythromycin, tobramycin, and ciprofloxacin. Because the patient did not respond to long-term therapy with amikacin and erythromycin, an experimental antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, was tried. Only after extensive surgical debridement and 2 1/2 months of oral ciprofloxacin therapy was the infection eradicated and wound healing obtained. The authors conclude that a wound that has reopened, but remains indolent, exudes a clear, serous drainage and responds poorly to antibiotics should suggest a possible mycobacterial infection. Combination antibiotic therapy is recommended because of the high rate of relapse and development of resistance to drugs. Extensive surgical debridement of all infected tissue remains the primary treatment. The therapeutic value of ciprofloxacin and other newer antibiotics in the treatment of mycobacterial infection is promising.