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Diabetic Foot Infections

Time to Change the Prognostic Concept

David L. Nielson DPM1 and Yousry Ali MD, MSc2
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  • 1 Foot and Ankle of Southwest Virginia, Roanoke, VA.
  • | 2 Department of Surgery, Al-Khobar Hospital, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
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Patients with diabetic neuropathy are subject to ulcerations that may be complicated by infection and gangrene, with subsequent risk of amputation. It is the job of the foot specialist to identify and manage these problems early to avoid the unfortunate complication of amputation regardless of the presenting condition of the patient’s limb. We shed light on the hypothesis that suggests that infection and gangrene in a diabetic patient aggravate the degree of ischemia (microvascular, macrovascular, or both) already present enough to endanger the viability of the surrounding tissues unless urgent drainage with decompression and debridement of the necrotic sloughs is performed, with consequent reduction of tissue pressure and improvement in circulation to the area. We present cases with severe infections leading to gangrene and ischemia, which were improved following surgical management with consequent improvement in tissue viability. In these cases, we demonstrate that immediate treatment of the wound despite the delayed presentation of the patients resulted in limb salvage with much less soft-tissue loss than expected before treatment. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(5): 454–458, 2009)

Corresponding author: David L. Nielson, DPM, Foot and Ankle of Southwest Virginia, 222 Walnut Ave, Roanoke, VA 24016. (E-mail: Pampantla@hotmail.com)