The authors evaluated the time to healing and prevalence of complications in patients undergoing mechanically assisted, delayed primary closure of diabetic foot wounds compared with a similar population who received standard wound care. A total of 55 patients were enrolled for study, with 25 in the experimental group and 30 in the control group. Patients in the experimental (stretch) group underwent mechanically assisted primary closure of their wounds using a skin-stretching device. There was no difference between the stretch and control groups with regard to any descriptive characteristics, including wound chronicity. Although the wounds were over three times as large on average in the stretch group (P < .001), the stretch group reached full epithelialization approximately 40% sooner than the control group (26.4 +/- 16.0 versus 42.5 +/- 19.9 days; P < .002). Eighty-eight percent of patients in the stretch group experienced wound dehiscence, at a mean time of 1.8 +/- 0.6 weeks following mechanically assisted closure. However, patients who experienced dehiscence in the stretch group healed significantly faster than patients in the control group (27.4 +/- 16.7 versus 42.5 +/- 19.9 days; P < .007). The results of this study suggest that mechanically assisted closure of diabetic foot wounds may result in reduced healing time compared with healing by secondary intention.
Over the past generation, advents in topical antibiotics and oral analgesia have obscured butamen and its family of topical anesthetics. Using a modified version of the McGill University pain questionnaire, this study attempts to establish the efficacy and clinical utility of this overlooked topical anesthetic.
The purpose of this study was to compare the ability of various modalities to reduce pressure in the plantar heel. Twenty-five patients with grade 1A plantar foot ulcerations were evaluated; a repeat measures design comparing plantar pressure was used to evaluate the total contact cast, the Aircast pneumatic walker, the DH pressure relief walker, and depth-inlay shoes. The total contact cast reduced pressure significantly better than the other modalities; however, its pressure reduction was only 33% less than a baseline sneaker. All other modalities reduced significantly more pressure than the depth-inlay shoe. The DH walker had a significantly lower pressure-time integral than other modalities. These data indicate that, while the total contact cast appears to be effective compared with other modalities, the role that limitation of transverse motion of the fat pad on compression at heel strike has yet to be fully explained.
While there have been several reports of upper and lower extremity amputations secondary to meningitis and purpura fulminans in the literature, the incidence is probably rare. Delmas et al studied five pediatric subjects with gangrene caused by meningococcemia, with four requiring amputation. Weiner reported that all 12 patients in his review received a lower extremity amputation, with several requiring upper extremity amputation. Joint contracture, while not as commonly discussed as amputation, is nonetheless an important and perhaps more common finding. Urbaniak et al indicated that of six patients reviewed, three developed significant joint contractures. With the exception of the gangrenous changes discussed, it was joint contracture that was the most limiting factor in progression to full activity and weightbearing in the authors' subject. Prompt, aggressive physical therapy is tantamount to effecting an acceptable long-term outcome.
Appropriate care of feet of patients with diabetes requires a clear, descriptive classification system that may be used to direct appropriate therapy and possibly predict outcome. Ideally, this system would be used by all participants in a multidisciplinary limb-salvage team. The authors report on a logical, treatment-oriented system that may improve communication, leading to a less complex, more predictable treatment course and, ultimately, an improved result.
This retrospective study reviewed the culture results of 112 admissions to a multidisciplinary diabetic foot care team with a primary diagnosis of infected diabetic pedal ulceration. An average of 1.5 +/- 0.9 species per patient (P < 0.0001) were isolated. Eighty-nine percent of wounds cultured grew two or fewer organisms. Anaerobic species were isolated in only 5% of all cultures. Of these isolates, the distinction between anaerobic colonization and true anaerobic infection is made. Results suggest that aggressive early hospitalization, coupled with aggressive intraoperative debridement, may yield less microbiologically complex infections that may be controlled with less expensive narrow spectrum antibiotic therapy. Diagnosis of the infected pedal ulceration of a patient with diabetes is a clinical one. If this diagnosis is combined with appropriate surgical intervention, microbiologic correlation, and antimicrobial therapy, the result may be a less complex hospital course and improved outcome.
The authors draw attention to the importance of evaluation of the contralateral limb when treating unilateral sequelae secondary to distal symmetrical polyneuropathy. Plantar pressure measurements of the contralateral limb during total contact casting are reviewed. The results of thermometric evaluation before and after initiation of repetitive stress were reviewed. The results suggest that the patient walking in a total contact cast may experience a reduced focal pressure on the contralateral limb when compared with uncasted walking and three-point walking with crutches. Dermal thermometry may be a highly sensitive tool in evaluating even mild increases in repetitive stress. To explain this decrease in contralateral stress, the authors examine the features inherent to the total contact cast and propose the concept of proprioceptive stability.
For several decades, Chopart's amputation has met with some skepticism owing to reports of significant equinus deformity developing soon after the procedure is performed. However, with appropriate tendon balancing, which generally includes anterior tibial tendon transfer and tendo Achillis lengthening, this level of amputation is often more functional than slightly more distal amputations, such as Lisfranc or short transmetatarsal amputations. The authors offer a rationale for this observation, which includes a discussion of the longitudinal and transverse arch concept of the foot. This concept dictates that the shorter the midfoot-level amputation, the more likely the patient is to develop an equinovarus deformity, thus exposing the fifth metatarsal base and cuboid to weightbearing stress and a high risk of ulceration. Chopart's amputation, in eliminating the cuboid, often obviates the potential varus deformity and thus can have a more acceptable long-term result.
More inpatient hospital days are used for the care of diabetic foot infection than for any other diabetic sequela. Both the number of lower extremity amputations and the overall treatment cost of treating diabetic infections may be reduced by using a team approach in the care of the infected diabetic pedal wound. The authors propose an evaluation and treatment protocol of infected pedal ulcerations in an urban, community teaching institution when admitted to an established, multidisciplinary diabetic foot care team. The hospital course of 111 patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of infected pedal ulceration are retrospectively reviewed. Results revealed an average-length hospital stay of 7.4 days with a 96% limb-salvage rate. The authors suggest that in the treatment of the infected pedal wound, a diabetic foot care team with a well developed treatment protocol may yield a consistently favorable outcome and a cost-effective hospital course.