Background: Diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations are largely preventable. Eighty-five percent of amputations are preceded by a foot ulcer. Effective management of ulcers, which leads to healing, can prevent limb loss.
Methods: In a county hospital, we implemented a six-step approach to the diabetic limb at risk. We calculated the frequency and level of lower-extremity amputations for 12 months before and 12 months after implementation of the amputation prevention program. We also calculated the high-low amputation ratio for the years reviewed. The high-low amputation ratio is a quality measure for the success of amputation prevention measures and is calculated as the ratio of the number of high amputations (limb losses) over the number of low (partial foot) amputations.
Results: The frequency of total amputations increased from 24 in year 1 to 46 in year 2. However, the number of limb losses decreased from 7 to 2 (72%). The high-low amputation ratio decreased eightfold in 1 year, which serves as a marker for limb salvage success.
Conclusions: Improvement in care organization and multidisciplinary-centered protocols can substantially reduce limb losses. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(2): 101–104, 2010)
Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder that can present clinically with multiple concurrent comorbidities. This case report describes a 12-year-old girl with Turner syndrome who was referred for podiatric medical assessment and explores the application of optoelectronic stereophotogrammetry in the biomechanical assessment of the foot and lower limb. A four-segment kinematic foot model using 14-mm reflective markers was applied to the foot and lower limb of the patient to track motion at the tibia, rearfoot, forefoot, and hallux. Kinematic results presented in this case study illustrate evidence of excessive foot pronation throughout the stance phase of gait. Whether excessive pronation is a general characteristic of foot function in Turner syndrome remains to be confirmed, but the findings presented suggest that a comprehensive evaluation of foot biomechanics in patients with Turner syndrome may be warranted. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(3): 259–263, 2012)
This practice memo, a collaborative effort between the Young Physicians' Program of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and the Young Surgeons Committee of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), is intended to aid podiatrists and vascular surgeons in the early years of their respective careers, especially those involved in the care of patients with chronic wounds. During these formative years, learning how to successfully establish an inter-professional partnership is crucial in order to provide the best possible care to this important patient population.
At the end of an anatomical peninsula, the foot in diabetes is prone to short- and long-term complications involving neuropathy, vasculopathy, and infection. Effective management requires an interdisciplinary effort focusing on this triad. Herein, we describe the key factors leading to foot complications and the critical skill sets required to assemble a team to care for them. Although specific attention is given to a conjoined model involving podiatric medicine and vascular surgery, the so-called toe and flow model, we further outline three separate programmatic models of care—basic, intermediate, and center of excellence—that can be implemented in the developed and developing world. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 342–348, 2010)
Background: Because value-based care is critical to the Affordable Care Act success, we forecasted inpatient costs and the potential impact of podiatric medical care on savings in the diabetic population through improved care quality and decreased resource use during implementation of the health reform initiatives in California.
Methods: We forecasted enrollment of diabetic adults into Medicaid and subsidized health benefit exchange programs using the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM) base model. Amputations and admissions per 1,000 diabetic patients and inpatient costs were based on the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development 2009-2011 inpatient discharge files. We evaluated cost in three categories: uncomplicated admissions, amputations during admissions, and discharges to a skilled nursing facility. Total costs and projected savings were calculated by applying the metrics and cost to the projected enrollment.
Results: Diabetic patients accounted for 6.6% of those newly eligible for Medicaid or health benefit exchange subsidies, with a 60.8% take-up rate. We project costs to be $24.2 million in the diabetic take-up population from 2014 to 2019. Inpatient costs were 94.3% higher when amputations occurred during the admission and 46.7% higher when discharged to a skilled nursing facility. Meanwhile, 61.0% of costs were attributed to uncomplicated admissions. Podiatric medical services saved 4.1% with a 10% reduction in admissions and amputations and an additional 1% for every 10% improvement in access to podiatric medical care.
Conclusions: When implementing the Affordable Care Act, inclusion of podiatric medical services on multidisciplinary teams and in chronic-care models featuring prevention helps shift care to ambulatory settings to realize the greatest cost savings.
Background: Silicone gel sheeting is an effective therapeutic intervention in the management of scar tissue. This pilot study was designed to examine the effect of silicone gel sheeting in preventing reulceration at former wound sites in diabetic patients.
Methods: Thirty patients with diabetes and a healed plantar neuropathic foot ulcer were enrolled and investigated in this randomized controlled trial. Participants with a newly healed ulcer were assigned to use either silicone gel sheeting or emollient cream daily for 3 months.
Results: Compared with emollient cream use, the use of silicone gel sheeting did not diminish and may have potentially increased the risk of reulceration.
Conclusions: Silicone gel sheeting does not seem to reduce the risk of reulceration in diabetic patients. The results of this trial should be viewed with caution given the small sample size. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(2): 116–123, 2011)
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 Amputation Prevention Initiative is a project conducted jointly by the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Podiatric Medical Society that seeks to study methods to reduce nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations from diabetes.
To determine the rate of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in Massachusetts and identify the groups most at risk, hospital billing and discharge data were analyzed. To examine the components of the diabetic foot examination routinely performed by general practitioners, surveys were conducted in conjunction with physician meetings in Massachusetts (n = 149) and in six other states (n = 490).
The average age-adjusted number of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in 2004 was 30.8 per 100,000 and 5.3 per 1,000 diabetic patients in MA, with high-risk groups being identified as men and black individuals. Among the general practitioners surveyed in Massachusetts, only 2.01% reported routinely conducting all four key components of the diabetic foot examination, with 28.86% reporting not performing any components.
These findings suggest that many general practitioners may be failing to perform the major components of the diabetic foot examination believed to prevent foot ulcers and lower-extremity amputations.