The Amputation Prevention Initiative is a project conducted jointly by the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Podiatric Medical Society that seeks to study methods to reduce nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations from diabetes.
To determine the rate of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in Massachusetts and identify the groups most at risk, hospital billing and discharge data were analyzed. To examine the components of the diabetic foot examination routinely performed by general practitioners, surveys were conducted in conjunction with physician meetings in Massachusetts (n = 149) and in six other states (n = 490).
The average age-adjusted number of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in 2004 was 30.8 per 100,000 and 5.3 per 1,000 diabetic patients in MA, with high-risk groups being identified as men and black individuals. Among the general practitioners surveyed in Massachusetts, only 2.01% reported routinely conducting all four key components of the diabetic foot examination, with 28.86% reporting not performing any components.
These findings suggest that many general practitioners may be failing to perform the major components of the diabetic foot examination believed to prevent foot ulcers and lower-extremity amputations.
Data from 37 patients who underwent a transmetatarsal amputation from January 1993 to April 1996 were reviewed. The mean age and diabetes duration of the subjects were 54.9 (± 13.2) years and 16.6 (± 8.9) years, respectively. The follow-up period averaged 42.1 (± 11.2) months. At the time of follow-up, 29 (78.4%) of the 37 patients still had foot salvage, 8 (21.6%) had progressed to below-the-knee amputation, and 15 (40.5%) had undergone lower-extremity revascularization. Twelve (80%) of the 15 revascularized patients preserved their transmetatarsal amputation level at a follow-up of 36.4 months. The authors concluded that at a maximum of 3 years follow-up after initial amputation, transmetatarsal amputation was a successful amputation level. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(10): 533-535, 2001)
Background: Diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations are largely preventable. Eighty-five percent of amputations are preceded by a foot ulcer. Effective management of ulcers, which leads to healing, can prevent limb loss.
Methods: In a county hospital, we implemented a six-step approach to the diabetic limb at risk. We calculated the frequency and level of lower-extremity amputations for 12 months before and 12 months after implementation of the amputation prevention program. We also calculated the high-low amputation ratio for the years reviewed. The high-low amputation ratio is a quality measure for the success of amputation prevention measures and is calculated as the ratio of the number of high amputations (limb losses) over the number of low (partial foot) amputations.
Results: The frequency of total amputations increased from 24 in year 1 to 46 in year 2. However, the number of limb losses decreased from 7 to 2 (72%). The high-low amputation ratio decreased eightfold in 1 year, which serves as a marker for limb salvage success.
Conclusions: Improvement in care organization and multidisciplinary-centered protocols can substantially reduce limb losses. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(2): 101–104, 2010)
Below-the-knee amputation (BKA) can be a detrimental outcome of diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO). Ideal treatment of DFO is controversial, but studies suggest minor amputation reduces the risk of BKA. We evaluated risk factors for BKA after minor amputation for DFO.
This is a retrospective cohort of patients discharged from Denver Health Medical Center from February 1, 2012, through December 31, 2014. Patients who underwent minor amputation for diagnosis of DFO were eligible for inclusion. The outcome evaluated was BKA in the 6 months after minor amputation.
Of 153 episodes with DFO that met the study criteria, 11 (7%) had BKA. Failure to heal surgical incision at 3 months (P < .001) and transmetatarsal amputation (P = .009) were associated with BKA in the 6 months after minor amputation. Peripheral vascular disease was associated with failure to heal but not with BKA (P = .009). Severe infection, bacteremia, hemoglobin A1c, and positive histopathologic margins of bone and soft tissue were not associated with BKA. The median antibiotic duration was 42 days for positive histopathologic bone resection margin (interquartile range, 32–47 days) and 16 days for negative margin (interquartile range, 8–29 days). Longer duration of antibiotics was not associated with lower risk of BKA.
Patients who fail to heal amputation sites in 3 months or who have transmetatarsal amputation are at increased risk for BKA. Future studies should evaluate the impact of aggressive wound care or whether failure to heal is a marker of another variable.
The lower-extremity amputation rate in people with diabetes mellitus is high, and the wound failure rate at the time of amputation is as high as 28%. Even with successful healing of the primary amputation site, amputation of part of the contralateral limb occurs in 50% of patients within 2 to 5 years. The purpose of this study was to provide valid outcome data before (control period) and 18 months after (test period) implementation of a multidisciplinary team approach using verified methods to improve the institutional care of wounds. Retrospective medical chart review was performed for 118 control patients and 116 test patients. The amputation rate was significantly decreased during the test period, and the amputations that were required were at a significantly more distal level. No above-the-knee amputations were required in 45 patients during the test period, compared with 14 of 76 patients during the control period. These outcome data suggest that unified care is an effective approach for the patient with diabetic foot problems. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(8): 425-428, 2002)
Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy and Diabetic Foot Amputations
A Retrospective Study of Payer Claims Data
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)
The Fitting of Amputated and Nonamputated Diabetic Feet
A French Experience at the Villiers-Saint-Denis Hospital
The Villiers-Saint-Denis Hospital in France specializes in the rehabilitation of and fitting of orthoses for lower-limb amputees, who frequently have diabetes mellitus. The percentage of partial-foot amputations has increased relative to the percentage of transtibial or transfemoral amputations. This article describes a complete range of orthoses and prostheses, adapted to each patient, that allow recovery of the standing position, gait ability, and physical activity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(3): 221-228, 2003)
Transtibial (TTA) and transfemoral (TFA) amputations are rarely considered as distinct events when examining major lower-limb amputation outcomes. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships among type 2 diabetes, diabetes management strategies, hemoglobin A1c levels, and other health factors related to TTA and TFA.
The retrospective medical record review included abstracting demographic and health-related data from the electronic medical records of 92 patients who received amputation-related services in a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.
Patients who controlled their diabetes with insulin (with or without other oral agents) were significantly more likely to undergo TTA (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–49.97; P = .03) compared with patients who controlled their diabetes through noninsulin medications or by diet. Patients who underwent no previous surgery (aOR = 6.66; 95% CI, 0.89-49.72; P = .06) or partial amputation only (aOR = 15.44; 95% CI, 1.04–228.29; P = .05) compared with a combination of partial amputation and bypass, thrombolectomy, or stent procedures were marginally to statistically significantly more likely to undergo TTA than TFA.
The preferential association between TTA with insulin-dependent diabetes and higher hemoglobin A1c levels versus TFA with previous lower-limb bypasses, stent placement, and thrombolytic interventions distinguishes TTA and TFA as two distinct entities, and awareness of this difference may help clinicians design preventive strategies accordingly.
Toe amputation is the most common partial foot amputation. Controversy exists regarding whether to primarily close toe amputations or to leave them open for secondary healing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of closed toe amputations in diabetic patients, with respect to wound healing, complications, and the need for further higher level amputation.
We retrospectively reviewed the results of 40 elective or semi-elective toe amputations with primary closure performed in 35 patients treated in a specialized diabetic foot unit. Patients with abscesses or necrotizing fasciitis were treated emergently and were excluded. Patients in whom clean margins could not be achieved due to extensive cellulitis or tenosynovitis and patients requiring vascular intervention were excluded as well. Outcome endpoints included wound healing at 3 weeks, delayed wound healing, or subsequent higher level amputation.
Out of 40 amputations, 38 healed well. Thirty amputations healed by the time of stitch removal at 3 weeks and eight had delayed healing. In two patients the wounds did not heal and subsequent higher level amputation was eventually required.
In carefully selected diabetic foot patients, primary closure of toe amputations is a safe surgical option. We do not recommend primary closure when infection control is not achieved or in patients requiring vascular reconstruction. Careful patient selection, skillful assessment of debridement margins and meticulous technique are required and may be offered by experienced designated surgeons in a specialized diabetic foot unit.
Partial foot amputations (PFAs) are often indicated for the treatment of severe infection, osteomyelitis, and critical limb ischemia, which consequently leads to irreversible necrosis. Many patients who undergo PFAs have concomitant comorbidities and generally present with a severe acute manifestation of the condition, such as gangrenous changes, systemic infection, or debilitating pain, which would then require emergency amputation on an inpatient basis.
The purpose of this study was to track the recent prevalence of PFAs and to investigate the current demographic trends of the physicians managing and performing PFAs, specifically regarding medical degree and specialty. Doctors of podiatric medicine are striving to achieve parity with their allopathic and osteopathic surgical counterparts and become a more prominent part of the multidisciplinary approach to limb salvage and emergency surgical treatment. This study evaluated 4 years (2009–2012) of PFA data from the Pennsylvania state inpatient database in the two most populated areas of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Allegheny counties. Statistics on medical schools were obtained directly from the accrediting bodies of allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric medical schools. The goal of this study was to evaluate the general trends of patients undergoing a PFA and to quantify the upswing of podiatric surgeons intervening in the surgical care of these patients.
The number of partial foot amputations in the United States rose from 2006 to 2012. Podiatric surgeons performed 46% of theses procedures for residents of Philadelphia County from 2009 to 2012. In Allegheny County podiatric physicians performed 42% of these procedures during the same time frame.
Partial foot amputations are increasing over time. Podiatric Surgeons perform a significant share of these operations. This share is increasing in the most populated areas of Pennsylvania.