Background: Diabetic lower-extremity disease is the primary driver of mortality in patients with diabetes. Amputations at the forefoot or ankle preserve limb length, increase function, and, ultimately, reduce deconditioning and mortality compared with higher-level amputations, such as below-the-knee amputations (BKAs). We sought to identify risk factors associated with amputation level to understand barriers to length-preserving amputations (LPAs).
Methods: Diabetic lower-extremity admissions were extracted from the 2012-2014 National Inpatient Survey using ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. The main outcome was a two-level variable consisting of LPAs (transmetatarsal, Syme, and Chopart) versus BKAs. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine contributions of patient- and hospital-level factors to likelihood of undergoing LPA versus BKA.
Results: The study cohort represented 110,355 admissions nationally: 42,375 LPAs and 67,980 BKAs. The population was predominantly white (56.85%), older than 50 years (82.55%), and male (70.38%). On multivariate analysis, living in an urban area (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.48; P < .0001) and having vascular intervention in the same hospital stay (RRR = 2.96; P < .0001) were predictive of LPA. Patients from rural locations but treated in urban centers were more likely to receive BKA. Minorities were more likely to present with severe disease, limiting delivery of LPAs. A high Elixhauser comorbidity score was related to BKA receipt.
Conclusions: This study identifies delivery biases in amputation level for patients without access to large, urban hospitals. Rural patients seeking care in these centers are more likely to receive higher-level amputations. Further examination is required to determine whether earlier referral to multidisciplinary centers is more effective at reducing BKA rates versus satellite centers in rural localities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare, with its far-reaching effects seeping into chronic disease evaluation and treatment. Our tertiary wound care center was specially designed to deliver the highest quality care to wounded patients. Pre-pandemic, we were able to ensure rapid treatment via validated protocols delivered by a co-localized multidisciplinary team within the hospital setting. The pandemic has disrupted our model's framework, and we have worked to adapt our workflow without sacrificing quality of care. Using the modified Donabedian model of quality assessment, we present an analysis of pre- and intra-pandemic characteristics of our center. In this way, we hope other providers can use this framework for identifying evolving problems within their practice so that quality care can continue to be delivered to all patients.