Diabetic foot infections are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, and successful treatment often requires an aggressive and prolonged approach. Recent work has elucidated the importance of appropriate therapy for a given severity of diabetic foot infection, and highlighted the ongoing risk such patients have for subsequent invasive life-threatening infection should diabetic foot ulcers fail to heal. The authors describe the case of a man with diabetes who had prolonged, delayed healing of a diabetic foot ulcer. The ulcer subsequently became infected by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The infection was treated conservatively with oral therapy and minimal debridement. Several months later, he experienced MRSA bloodstream infection and complicating endocarditis. The case highlights the ongoing risk faced by patients when diabetic foot ulcers do not heal promptly, and emphasizes the need for aggressive therapy to promote rapid healing and eradication of MRSA.
The number of people with diabetes is expected to reach 592 million in the year 2035. Diabetic foot lesions are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes. The aims of this study were to examine for the first time a new biocompatible and biodegradable tridimensional collagen-based matrix, GBT013, in humans for diabetic foot ulcer wound healing and to evaluate its ease of use to better define a protocol for a future clinical trial. Seven adult patients with a diabetic foot ulcer of grade 1A to 3D (University of Texas Diabetic Wound Classification) were treated using GBT013, a new collagen-based advance dressing and were monitored in two specialized foot care units for a maximum of 9 weeks. Five of seven wounds achieved complete healing in 4 to 7 weeks. Nonhealed ulcers showed a significant reduction of the wound surface (>44%). GBT013 was well tolerated and displayed positive wound healing outcomes as a new treatment strategy of chronic foot ulcers in diabetic patients.
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.
Emergency department visits for lower extremity complications of diabetes are extremely common throughout the world. Surprisingly, recent data suggest that such visits generate an 81.2% hospital admission rate with an annual bill of at least $1.2 billion in the United States alone. The likelihood of amputation and other subsequent adverse outcomes is strongly associated with three factors: 1) wound severity (degree of tissue loss), 2) ischemia, and 3) foot infection. Using these factors, this article outlines the basic principles needed to create an evidence-based, rapid foot assessment for diabetic foot ulcers presenting to the emergency department, and suggests the establishment of a “hot foot line” for an organized, expeditious response from limb salvage team members. We present a nearly immediate assessment and referral system for patients with atraumatic tissue loss below the knee that has the potential to vastly expedite lower extremity triage in the emergency room setting through greater collaboration and organization.
Osteomyelitis is one of the most feared sequelae of diabetic foot ulceration, which often leads to lower-extremity amputation and disability. Early diagnosis of osteomyelitis increases the likelihood of successful treatment and may limit the amount of bone resected, preserving ambulatory function. Although a variety of techniques exist for imaging the diabetic foot, standard radiography is still the only in-office imaging modality used today. However, radiographs lack sensitivity and specificity, making it difficult to diagnose bone infection at its early stages. In this report, we describe our initial experience with a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)–based device, which may serve as an accurate and readily available tool for early diagnosis of osteomyelitis in a patient with diabetes. Two patients with infected diabetic foot ulcers were evaluated for osteomyelitis using radiography and CBCT. Positive imaging findings were confirmed by bone biopsy. In both patients, CBCT captured early osteolytic changes that were not apparent on radiographs, leading to early surgical intervention and successful treatment. The CBCT was helpful in facilitating detection and early clinical intervention for osteomyelitis in two diabetic patients with foot ulcers. These results are encouraging and warrant future evaluation.
Ill-fitting shoes may precipitate up to half of all diabetes-related amputations and are often cited as a leading cause of diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), with those patients being 5 to 10 times more likely to present wearing improperly fitting shoes. Among patients with prior DFU, those who self-select their shoe wear are at a three-fold risk for reulceration at 3 years versus those patients wearing prescribed shoes. Properly designed and fitted shoes should then address much of this problem, but evidence supporting the benefit of therapeutic shoe programs is inconclusive. The current study, performed in a male veteran population, is the first such effort to examine the prevalence and extent of change in foot length affecting individuals following skeletal maturity. Nearly half of all participants in our study experienced a ≥1 shoe size change in foot length during adulthood. We suggest that these often unrecognized changes may explain the broad use of improperly sized shoe wear, and its associated sequelae such as DFU and amputation. Regular clinical assessment of shoe fit in at-risk populations is therefore also strongly recommended as part of a comprehensive amputation prevention program.
The use of bioengineered tissue and topical subatmospheric pressure therapy have both been widely accepted as adjunctive therapies for the treatment of noninfected, nonischemic diabetic foot wounds. This article describes a temporally overlapping method of care that includes a period of simultaneous application of bioengineered tissue (Apligraf, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp, East Hanover, New Jersey) and subatmospheric pressure therapy delivered through the VAC (Vacuum Assisted Closure) system (KCI, Inc, San Antonio, Texas). Future descriptive and analytic works may test the hypothesis that combined therapies used at different and often overlapping periods during the wound-healing cycle may be more effective than a single modality. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(7): 395-397, 2002)
Neuropathic foot ulcers are a common complication in patients with diabetes. These ulcers are often slow to heal and can lead to infection, further tissue destruction, osteomyelitis, and amputation. These patients pose a challenge to clinicians who must determine the best treatment options while balancing the risks, benefits, and costs. Conservative therapies often present disappointing results, and a number of newer “biologic bandages” have been developed to better assist the healing process. We describe results from diabetic patients with neuropathic foot ulcers treated with a new amniotic membrane–based allograft.
Ablative fractional laser is suggested to promote wound healing in diabetic and venous leg ulcers. In this article, we report the treatment outcome of a recalcitrant foot ulceration related to lower leg arteriopathy. A 43-year-old man with typical digital substraction angiographic findings of arteriopathy was admitted to our department after 30 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There was heterotopic tissue within the ulcer consistent with osseous metaplasia and mature bone tissue. This tissue was removed with full-field erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser, and the remaining parts received fractional erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser for the induction of wound healing. A decrease in ulcer dimensions was achieved by the second month of laser interventions without recurrence in the first-year control.
Treatment of chronic wounds of the lower extremity requires a systematic, multidisciplinary approach as well as flexibility in order to achieve acceptable, consistent short-term and long-term results. Maggots, once considered an obsolete therapeutic modality, can be a useful addition to the armamentarium of the foot and ankle specialist. This article describes the use of maggot debridement therapy for intractable wounds of the lower extremity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(7): 398-401, 2002)