Background: We used a model of lower-extremity ulceration to determine the impact of a podiatric lead limb preservation team on identified relationships among risk factors, predictors of ulceration, amputation, and clinical outcomes of lower-extremity disease in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Methods: A total of 485 patients with diabetes mellitus were randomly selected from the diabetic population and included in this retrospective cohort study. Patients were then stratified into two groups: those who received specialty podiatric medical care and those who did not. Data covering a 5-year period were collected using electronic medical records and chart abstraction to capture detailed treatment characteristics, ulcer status, and surgical outcomes.
Results: Overall, the frequencies of inpatient and outpatient encounters and the durations of hospital stays were significantly greater with increasing wound depth and in the presence of infection. In addition, the overall ulcer incidence was greater in patients with callus (34.3% versus 10.3%, P < .0001) with and without neuropathy (20.4% and 4.1%, P < .0001). Among patients treated in a specialty multidiscipline podiatric medical setting, the proportion of all amputations that were “minor” was significantly increased (33.7% versus 67.3%, P = .0006), and survival was significantly improved (19.5% versus 7.7%, P < .0001).
Conclusions: Early identification of individuals at increased risk for lower-extremity ulceration and subsequent referral for advanced multidiscipline podiatric medical specialty care may decrease rates of ulceration and proximal amputation and improve survival in patients with diabetes mellitus who are at high risk for ulceration and limb loss. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(4): 235–241, 2010)
Background: The objective of this investigation was to evaluate adverse short-term outcomes following partial forefoot amputation with a specific comparison performed based on subject height.
Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was analyzed to select those subjects with a 28805 CPT code (amputation, foot; transmetatarsal) that underwent the procedure with “all layers of incision (deep and superficial) fully closed.” This resulted in 11 subjects with a height ≤60 inches, 202 subjects with a height >60 inches and <72 inches, and 55 subjects ≥72 inches.
Results: Results of the primary outcome measures found no significant differences between groups with respect to the development of a superficial surgical site infection (0.0% vs. 6.4% vs. 5.5%; p=0.669), deep incisional infection (9.1% vs. 3.5% vs. 10.9%; p=0.076), or wound disruption (0.0% vs. 5.4% vs. 5.5%; p=0.730). Additionally, no significant differences were observed between groups with respect to unplanned reoperations (9.1% vs. 16.8% vs. 12.7%; p=0.0630) or unplanned hospital readmissions (45.5% vs. 23.3% vs. 20.0%; p=0.190).
Conclusions: The results of this investigation demonstrate no difference in short-term adverse outcomes following the performance of partial forefoot amputation with primary closure based on subject height. Although height has previously been described as a potential risk factor in the development of lower extremity pathogenesis, this finding was not observed in this study from a large US database.
Diabetes-related lower limb amputations (LLAs) are a major complication that can be reduced by employing multidisciplinary center frameworks such as the Toe and Flow model (TFM). In this study, we investigate the LLAs reduction efficacy of the TFM compared to the standard of care (SOC) in the Canadian health-care system.
We retrospectively reviewed the anonymized diabetes-related LLA reports (2007-2017) in Calgary and Edmonton metropolitan health zones in Alberta, Canada. Both zones have the same provincial health-care coverage and similar demographics; however, Calgary operates based on the TFM while Edmonton with the provincial SOC. LLAs were divided into minor and major amputation cohorts and evaluated using the chi-square test, linear regression. A lower major LLAs rate was denoted as a sign for higher efficacy of the system.
Although LLAs numbers remained relatively comparable (Calgary: 2238 and Edmonton: 2410), the Calgary zone had both significantly lower major (45%) and higher minor (42%) amputation incidence rates compared to the Edmonton zone. The increasing trend in minor LLAs and decreasing major LLAs in the Calgary zone were negatively and significantly correlated (r = -0.730, p = 0.011), with no significant correlation in the Edmonton zone.
Calgary's decreasing diabetes-related major LLAs and negative correlation in the minor-major LLAs rates compared to its sister zone Edmonton, provides support for the positive impact of the TFM. This investigation includes support for a modernization of the diabetes-related limb preservation practice in Canada by implementing TFMs across the country to combat major LLAs.
The timely and accurate noninvasive assessment of peripheral arterial disease is a critical component of a limb preservation initiative in patients with diabetes mellitus. Noninvasive vascular studies can be useful in screening patients with diabetes for peripheral arterial disease. In patients with clinical signs or symptoms, noninvasive vascular studies provide crucial information on the presence, location, and severity of peripheral arterial disease and an objective assessment of the potential for primary healing of an index wound or a surgical incision. Appropriately selected noninvasive vascular studies are important in the decision-making process to determine whether and what type of intervention might be most appropriate given the clinical circumstances. Hemodynamic monitoring is likewise important after either an endovascular procedure or a surgical bypass. Surveillance studies, usually with a combination of physiologic testing and imaging with duplex ultrasound, accurately identify recurrent disease before the occurrence of thrombosis, allowing targeted reintervention. Noninvasive vascular studies can be broadly grouped into three general categories: physiologic or hemodynamic measurements, anatomical imaging, and measurements of tissue perfusion. These types of tests and suggestions for their appropriate application in patients with diabetes are reviewed. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 406–411, 2010)
In 2007, the treatment of diabetes and its complications in the United States generated at least $116 billion in direct costs; at least 33% of these costs were linked to the treatment of foot ulcers. Although the team approach to diabetic foot problems is effective in preventing lower-extremity amputations, the costs associated with implementing a diabetic-foot–care team are not well understood. An analysis of these costs provides the basis for this report.
Diabetic foot problems impose a major economic burden, and costs increase disproportionately to the severity of the condition. Compared with diabetic patients without foot ulcers, the cost of care for those with foot ulcers is 5.4 times higher in the year after the first ulcer episode and 2.8 times higher in the second year. Costs for treating the highest-grade ulcers are 8 times higher than are those for treating low-grade ulcers. Patients with diabetic foot ulcers require more frequent emergency department visits and are more commonly admitted to the hospital, requiring longer lengths of stay. Implementation of the team approach to manage diabetic foot ulcers in a given region or health-care system has been reported to reduce long-term amputation rates 62% to 82%. Limb salvage efforts may include aggressive therapy such as revascularization procedures and advanced wound-healing modalities. Although these procedures are costly, the team approach gradually leads to improved screening and prevention programs and earlier interventions and, thus, seems to reduce long-term costs.
To date, aggressive limb preservation management for patients with diabetic foot ulcers has not usually been paired with adequate reimbursement. It is essential to direct efforts in patient-caregiver education to allow early recognition and management of all diabetic foot problems and to build integrated pathways of care that facilitate timely access to limb salvage procedures. Increasing evidence suggests that the costs of implementing diabetic foot teams can be offset in the long term by improved access to care and reductions in foot complications and amputation rates. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 335–341, 2010)
The COVID-19 pandemic is driving significant change in the healthcare system and disrupting the best practices for diabetic limb preservation, leaving large numbers of patients without care. Patients with diabetes and foot ulcers are at increased risk for infections, hospitalization, amputations, and death. Podiatric care is associated with fewer diabetes-related amputations, ER visits, hospitalizations, length-of-stay, and costs. But podiatrists must mobilize and adopt the new paradigm of shifts away from hospital care to community-based care. Implementing the proposed Pandemic Diabetic Foot Triage System, in-home visits, higher acuity office visits, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring can help podiatrists manage patients while reducing the COVID-19 risk. The goal of podiatrists during the pandemic is to reduce the burden on the healthcare system by keeping diabetic foot and wound patients safe, functional, and at home.
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)
The Role of Interdisciplinary Team Approach in the Management of the Diabetic Foot
A Joint Statement from the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Podiatric Medical Association
The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recognize the beneficial impact of a multidisciplinary team approach on the care of patients with critical limb ischemia, especially in the diabetic population. As a first step in identifying clinical issues and questions important to both memberships, and to work together to find solutions that will benefit the shared patient, the two organizations appointed a representative group to write a joint statement on the importance of multidisciplinary team approach to the care of the diabetic foot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(4): 309–311, 2010)