Toenail onychomycosis is a common condition that is equally challenging for podiatrists and patients. This case study documents a 26-year-old woman with bilateral total dystrophic onychomycosis of at least 5 years’ duration. She had previously failed to respond to treatment with ciclopirox nail lacquer 8% and, despite hiding her condition with nail polish, was suffering from embarrassment, distress, and low self-esteem. At initial consultation, 100% of both great toenails was affected. After discussion of all treatment options, the patient opted for topical efinaconazole 10% solution, once daily for 48 weeks. Significant improvement was noted at the first (4-week) assessment period. This improvement was maintained through each subsequent virtual consultation, and complete cure was seen at a 30-week follow-up visit. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first published report on the use of efinaconazole in total dystrophic onychomycosis. It suggests that the product may be effective in patients with even the most severe and treatment-recalcitrant disease, who are unwilling or unable to tolerate systemic antifungal therapy.
Background: Diabetic foot osteomyelitis is a common infection where treatment involves multiple services, including infectious diseases, podiatry, and pathology. Despite its ubiquity in the hospital, consensus on much of its management is lacking.
Methods: Representatives from infectious diseases, podiatry, and pathology interested in quality improvement developed multidisciplinary institutional recommendations culminating in an educational intervention describing optimal diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO). Knowledge acquisition was assessed by preintervention and postintervention surveys. Inpatients with forefoot DFO were retrospectively reviewed before and after intervention to assess frequency of recommended diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers, including appropriate definition of surgical bone margins, definitive histopathology reports, and unnecessary intravenous antibiotics or prolonged antibiotic courses.
Results: A postintervention survey revealed significant improvements in knowledge of antibiotic treatment duration and the role of oral antibiotics in managing DFO. There were 104 consecutive patients in the preintervention cohort (April 1, 2018, to April 1, 2019) and 32 patients in the postintervention cohort (November 5, 2019, to March 1, 2020), the latter truncated by changes in hospital practice during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Noncategorizable or equivocal disease reports decreased from before intervention to after intervention (27.0% versus 3.3%, respectively; P = .006). We observed nonsignificant improvement in correct bone margin definition (74.0% versus 87.5%; P = .11), unnecessary peripherally inserted central catheter line placement (18.3% versus 9.4%; P = .23), and unnecessary prolonged antibiotics (21.9% versus 5.0%; P = .10). In addition, by working as an interdisciplinary group, many solvable misunderstandings were identified, and processes were adjusted to improve the quality of care provided to these patients.
Conclusions: This quality improvement initiative regarding management of DFO led to improved provider knowledge and collaborative competency between these three departments, improvements in definitive pathology reports, and nonsignificant improvement in several other clinical endpoints. Creating collaborative competency may be an effective local strategy to improve knowledge of diabetic foot infection and may generalize to other common multidisciplinary conditions.
Despite advancements in the treatment of diabetic patients with “at-risk” limbs, minor and major amputations remain commonplace. The diabetic population is especially prone to surgical complications from lower extremity amputation because of comorbidities such as renal disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, microvascular and macrovascular disease, and peripheral neuropathy. Complication occurrence may result in increases in hospital stay duration, unplanned readmission rate, mortality rate, number of operations, and incidence of infection. Skin flap necrosis and wound healing delay secondary to inadequate perfusion of soft tissues continues to result in significant morbidity, mortality, and cost to individuals and the health-care system. Intraoperative indocyanine green fluorescent angiography for the assessment of tissue perfusion may be used to assess tissue perfusion in this patient population to minimize complications associated with amputations. This technology provides real-time functional assessment of the macrovascular and microvascular systems in addition to arterial and venous flow to and from the flap soft tissues. This case study explores the use of indocyanine green fluorescent angiography for the treatment of a diabetic patient with a large dorsal and plantar soft-tissue deficit and need for transmetatarsal amputation with nontraditional rotational flap coverage. The authors theorize that the use of indocyanine green may decrease postoperative complications and cost to the health-care system through fewer readmissions and fewer procedures.
The accessory navicular bone (ANB) is one of the most common accessory ossicles of the foot. Fewer than 1% of ANBs are symptomatic, and most of the symptomatic ANBs are type II ANBs. Avascular necrosis of the type II ANB is an uncommon cause of symptomatic accessory navicular syndrome and also a rarely reported condition in the podiatric medical literature. This rare disorder must be distinguished from other painful conditions of the ANB and should be considered in differential diagnoses. We present a case of avascular necrosis of the type II ANB with sclerosis on radiographs and magnetic resonance images in a 46-year-old woman.
Background: Burnout and medical resident well-being has become an increasingly studied topic in medical degree (MD) and doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) fields and specialties, which has led to systemic changes in postgraduate education and training. Although an important topic to address for physicians of all experience levels and fields of practice, there is little research on this topic as it pertains specifically to the podiatric medical community.
Methods: A wellness needs assessment was developed and distributed to podiatric medical residents via electronic survey to assess overall wellness levels of residents and to highlight several subdomains of well-being in the training programs of the podiatric medical profession.
Results: A total of 121 residents completed the wellness needs assessment. Survey respondents indicated that they experienced high levels of professional burnout, with large numbers of them experiencing depression and anxiety. When analyzing the different subdomains of wellness, levels of intellectual and environmental wellness were high, and levels of financial and physical wellness were reported as low. In addition, free response answers were recorded in the survey regarding well-being initiatives that have been implemented in residency programs, and in many cases no such programs are reported to exist.
Conclusions: Podiatric medical residents experience compromised well-being similar to their MD/DO counterparts. These exploratory survey group results are concerning and warrant further investigation as well as organizational introspection. Analyzing well-being and implementing changes that can support podiatric physicians at all levels of training could decrease the deleterious effects of burnout in all its forms.
Background: We evaluated the cost of treating neuroischemic ulcers of the lower extremity in patients with peripheral artery disease by using medical and hospital claims records submitted for reimbursement to payers (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid).
Methods: Adjudicated claims and remittance data on claims that include submitted charges, line items paid by insurers directly to providers and patient payments of copays, deductibles and co-insurance were used. Eligible patients from a commercial database containing more than 60% of US patients with health insurance were analyzed. Patient selection, performed using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes, yielded a study population of 42,837 unique anonymized patients.
Results: Using the metric of “submitted charges” to overcome differences in levels of reimbursement across insurance payers and Medicare/Medicaid, we identified 34,348 patients with ulcers with an average treatment cost of $94,100 per patient ($41,800 annualized) The costliest ulcer subtype was nonpressure ulcer of the heel/midfoot among 13,184 patients with $121,400 per patient ($53,900 annualized), 29% higher than across all ulcer types. The subset of 22,281 ulcer patients who also had a surgical procedure incurred costs of $121,000 per patient ($53,800 annualized). The costliest surgical codes were complications of vascular prosthetic devices, implants, grafts among 6444 patients with $146,900 per patient ($65,300 annualized). The combination of most expensive ulcer and most expensive surgery yielded a cohort of 2355 patients with the highest average cost of $177,400 per patient ($78,800 annualized).
Conclusions: The resource burden for management of neuroischemic ulcers of the lower extremity in patients with peripheral artery disease is substantial. Mitigating this burden may help reduce significant resource utilization.
Background: Point-of-care testing for infection might help podiatric physicians optimize management of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Glycologic’s proprietary GLYWD product has been developed to detect changes in a patient’s immunologic/inflammatory response related to wound infection. We evaluated how bacterial presence in DFUs relates to GLYWD test outcome.
Methods: This was a single-organization, prospective, controlled cohort study of clinical opinion versus GLYWD test result for DFU infection status and the appraisal of bacterial presence in the wounds and semiquantitative microbiology swab at weeks 0, 3, 6, 12, and 18. Spearman correlation, backward elimination linear regression, and principal components analysis were applied to determine which variables, including degree of bacterial load, are associated with a positive clinical opinion or GLYWD result for DFU infection.
Results: Forty-eight patients were enrolled, and 142 complete wound appraisals were conducted; a consensus outcome between clinical opinion and GLYWD result was achieved in most (n = 122, 86%). Clinical opinion significantly correlated with a higher bacterial load (Spearman rho = 0.38; P < .01), whereas GLYWD did not (rho = –0.010; P = .91). This observation was corroborated with logistic regression analysis, in which a previous observation of both clinical opinion and GLYWD associating with wound purulence and erythema was also confirmed.
Conclusions: Podiatric physicians are guided by hallmark signs of DFU infection, such as erythema and purulence; furthermore, we found that clinical opinion of infection correlates with increased bacterial load. GLYWD test results match clinical opinion in most cases, although the results obtained with this point-of-care method suggest that the degree of bacterial presence might not necessarily mean a higher chance of inducing an immunologic/inflammatory host response to said bacteria.