Diabetic foot osteomyelitis is common and causes substantial morbidity, including major amputations, yet the optimal treatment approach is unclear. We evaluated an approach to limb salvage that combines early surgical debridement or limited amputation with antimicrobial therapy.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients treated between May 1, 2005, and May 31, 2007. The primary end point was cure, defined as not requiring further treatment for osteomyelitis of the affected limb. The secondary end point was limb salvage, defined as not requiring a below-the-knee amputation or a more proximal amputation.
Fifty patients with diabetic foot osteomyelitis met the study criteria. Initial surgical management included local amputation in 43 patients (86%) and debridement without amputation in seven (14%). Most infections (n = 30; 60%) were polymicrobial, and Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (n = 23; 46%). Parenteral antibiotics were used in 45 patients (90%). Patients who had pathologic evidence of osteomyelitis at the surgical margin received therapy for a median of 43 days (interquartile range [IQR], 36–56 days), whereas those without evidence of residual osteomyelitis received therapy for a median of 19 days (IQR, 13–40 days). Overall, 32 patients (64%) were considered cured after a median follow-up of 26 months (IQR, 12–38 months). Fifteen of 18 patients (83%) who failed initial therapy were treated again with limb-sparing surgery. Limb salvage was achieved in 47 patients (94%), with only three patients (6%) requiring below-the-knee amputation.
In patients with diabetic foot osteomyelitis, surgical debridement or limited amputation plus antimicrobial therapy is effective at achieving clinical cure and limb salvage. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(4): 273–277, 2012)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa has traditionally been considered a common pathogen in diabetic foot infection (DFI), yet the 2012 Infectious Diseases Society of America guideline for DFI states that “empiric therapy directed at P aeruginosa is usually unnecessary.” The objective of this study was to evaluate the frequency of P aeruginosa isolated from bone or tissue cultures from patients with DFI.
This study is a cross-sectional survey of diabetic patients presenting with a foot infection to an urban county hospital between July 1, 2012, and December 31, 2013. All of the patients had at least one debridement procedure during which tissue or bone cultures from operative or bedside debridements were obtained. The χ2 test and the t test of means were used to determine relationships between variables and the frequency of P aeruginosa in culture.
The median number of bacteria isolated from DFI was two. Streptococcus spp and Staphylococcus aureus were the most commonly isolated organisms; P aeruginosa was isolated in only five of 112 patients (4.5%). The presence of P aeruginosa was not associated with the patient's age, glycosylated hemoglobin level, tobacco abuse, the presence of osteomyelitis, a prescription for antibiotic drugs in the preceding 3 months, or the type of operative procedure.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa was an infrequent isolate from DFI in this urban, underserved diabetic population. The presence of P aeruginosa was not associated with any measured risk factors. By introducing a clinical practice guideline, we hope to discourage frontline providers from using routine antipseudomonal antibiotic drugs for DFI.