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.
The coronavirus disease of 2019 pandemic is driving significant change in the health-care system and disrupting the best practices for diabetic limb preservation, leaving large numbers of patients without care. Patients with diabetes and foot ulcers are at increased risk for infections, hospitalization, amputations, and death. Podiatric care is associated with fewer diabetes-related amputations, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, length-of-stay, and costs. However, podiatrists must mobilize and adopt the new paradigm of shifts away from hospital care to community-based care. Implementing the proposed Pandemic Diabetic Foot Triage System, in-home visits, higher acuity office visits, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring can help podiatrists manage patients while reducing the coronavirus disease of 2019 risk. The goal of podiatrists during the pandemic is to reduce the burden on the health-care system by keeping diabetic foot and wound patients safe, functional, and at home.
Background: The purpose of this retrospective audit was to compare patient based clinical outcomes to amputation healing outcomes twelve months after a minor foot amputation in people with diabetes.
Methods: Hospital admission and community outpatient data were extracted for all minor foot amputations in people with diabetes in 2017 in the Central Coast Local Health District.
Results: A total 85 minor foot amputations involving 74 people were identified. At the twelve-month follow-up 74% (n=56) of the minor foot amputations healed, 63% (n=41) of the participants achieved a good clinical outcome (healed, no more proximal amputations, or death within the 12 month follow up period), and the mortality rate was 18%. Poor clinical outcomes were associated with those aged greater than 60 (RR 5.75, 95% CI: 0.85 to 38.7, p=0.013), those undergoing a further surgical debridement procedure during their hospital stay (RR 2.42, 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.4, p=0.005) and those who did not attend CCLHD Podiatry clinics post-amputation (RR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.1, p=0.010).
Conclusions: To improve patient based clinical outcomes post-minor foot amputation, targeted follow-up in a high-risk foot clinic, and tailored discharge treatment plans for people aged over 60 or those undergoing a debridement procedure may be considered.
Background: The objective of this investigation was to evaluate adverse short-term outcomes following partial forefoot amputation with a specific comparison performed based on subject height.
Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was analyzed to select those subjects with a 28805 CPT code (amputation, foot; transmetatarsal) that underwent the procedure with “all layers of incision (deep and superficial) fully closed.” This resulted in 11 subjects with a height ≤60 inches, 202 subjects with a height >60 inches and <72 inches, and 55 subjects ≥72 inches.
Results: Results of the primary outcome measures found no significant differences between groups with respect to the development of a superficial surgical site infection (0.0% vs. 6.4% vs. 5.5%; p=0.669), deep incisional infection (9.1% vs. 3.5% vs. 10.9%; p=0.076), or wound disruption (0.0% vs. 5.4% vs. 5.5%; p=0.730). Additionally, no significant differences were observed between groups with respect to unplanned reoperations (9.1% vs. 16.8% vs. 12.7%; p=0.0630) or unplanned hospital readmissions (45.5% vs. 23.3% vs. 20.0%; p=0.190).
Conclusions: The results of this investigation demonstrate no difference in short-term adverse outcomes following the performance of partial forefoot amputation with primary closure based on subject height. Although height has previously been described as a potential risk factor in the development of lower extremity pathogenesis, this finding was not observed in this study from a large US database.
Background: More than 86,000 Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) undergo nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations annually. The opioid-prescribing practice of podiatric surgeons remains understudied. We hypothesized that patients with T2DM who undergo any forefoot amputation while using antidepressant medication will have reduced odds of using opioids beyond 7 days.
Methods: We completed a retrospective cohort study examining patients with T2DM who underwent forefoot amputation (toe, ray, transmetatarsal). Data were restricted to patients with a hemoglobin A1c level less than 8.0% and an ankle-brachial index greater than 0.8. The outcome was use of postoperative opioids beyond 7 days. Patients received an initial opioid prescription of 7 days or less. We developed simple logistic regression models to identify the odds of a patient using opioids beyond 7 days by patient variables: age, race, sex, amputation level, body mass index, antidepressant medication use, and marital status. Variables with P < .1 in the univariate analysis were included in the multiple logistic regression model.
Results: Fifty patients met the inclusion criteria. Antidepressant use and marital status were the only statistically significant variables. Adjusting for marital status, patients with antidepressant use had decreased odds (odds ratio, 0.018; 95% confidence interval, 0.001–0.229; P = .002) of using opioids beyond 7 days after a diabetic forefoot amputation.
Conclusions: Patients with T2DM who used antidepressants had significantly reduced odds of using opioids beyond 1 week after forefoot amputations compared with those without antidepressant use. We proposed an underlying diabetic foot–pain–depression cycle. To break the cycle, podiatric surgeons should screen this population for depression preoperatively and postoperatively and not hesitate to make a mental health referral if warranted. Nontraumatic amputations can be a traumatic experience for patients; psychiatrists and other mental health providers should be members of limb preservation teams.
Background: More than half of opioid misusers last obtained opioids from a friend or relative, a problematic reflection of the commonly known opioid reservoir maintained by variable prescription rates and, notably, excessive postoperative prescription. We examined the postoperative opioid-prescribing approaches among podiatric physicians.
Methods: We administered a scenario-based, anonymous, online questionnaire via an online survey platform. The questionnaire consisted of five patient–foot surgery scenarios aimed at discerning opioid-prescribing approaches. Respondents were asked how many opioid “pills” (dosage units) that they would prescribe at the time of surgery. We divided respondents into two opioid-prescribing approach groups: one-size-fits-all (prescribed the same dosage units regardless of the scenario) and patient-centric and procedure-focused (prescribed varied amounts of opioid dosage units based on the patient’s opioid history and the procedure provided in each scenario). We used the Mann-Whitney U test to determine the difference between the opioid dosage units prescribed at the time of surgery by the two groups.
Results: Approximately half of the respondents used a one-size-fits-all postoperative opioid-prescribing approach. Podiatric physicians who used a patient-centric and procedure-focused approach reported prescribing significantly fewer opioid dosage units in scenarios 1 (partial toe amputation; –9.1; P = .0087) and 2 (incision and drainage with partial fifth-ray resection; –12.3; P = .0024), which represented minor procedures with opioid-naive patients.
Conclusions: Podiatric physicians who used a one-size-fits-all opioid-prescribing approach prescribed more postoperative opioid dosage units regardless of the scenario. Given that the patient population requiring foot surgery is diverse and may have multiple comorbidities, the management of postoperative pain, likewise, should be diverse and nuanced. The patient-centric and procedure-focused approach is suited to limit excess prescribing while defending the physician-patient relationship.
Background: Chronic lower-extremity defects may lead to major amputations and have severe consequences on patient quality of life and mortality. Dermal matrices have become part of the reconstructive ladder and are often deployed in these scenarios to quickly build neodermis, especially in volumetric defects over exposed bone and tendon initially, to allow for subsequent closure by means of split-thickness skin grafting (STSG) or secondary intention. Ovine forestomach matrix (OFM) is a decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) bioscaffold available in both sheet and particulate forms that can be used as a dermal matrix in various soft-tissue reconstruction procedures.
Methods: This retrospective case series evaluated the use of OFM products in the surgical reconstruction of 50 cases (n = 50) comprised of challenging lower-extremity defects from seven healthcare centers. Patient records were reviewed to identify comorbidities, defect cause, defect size, presence of exposed structures, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contamination score, Wagner grade, OFM graft use, time to 100% granulation tissue, STSG use, overall time to heal, and postoperative complications. The primary study outcomes were time (days) to 100% granulation tissue formation, with secondary outcomes including overall time to wound closure (weeks), STSG take at 1 week, and complications.
Results: The results of this case series demonstrate OFM as a clinically effective treatment in the surgical management of complex lower-extremity soft-tissue defects with exposed structures in patients with multiple comorbidities. One application of OFM products was effective in regenerating well-vascularized neodermis, often in the presence of exposed structures, with a mean time to 100% granulation of 26.0 ± 22.2 days.
Conclusions: These data support the use of OFM as a safe, cost-effective, and clinically effective treatment option for coverage in complex soft-tissue wounds, including exposed vital structures, and to shorten the time to definitive wound closure in complicated patient populations.
The publication of the Global Vascular Guidelines in 2019 provide evidence-based, best practice recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI). Certainly, the multidisciplinary team, and more specifically one with collaborating podiatrists and vascular specialists, has been shown to be highly effective at improving the outcomes of limbs at risk for amputation. This article uses the Guidelines to answer key questions for podiatrists who are caring for the patient with CLTI.