Quick referral urged for patients with infection diabetic foot ulcers

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 24 Nov 2017
Quick referral urged for patients with infection diabetic foot ulcers
Patients with an infected diabetic foot ulcer are being urged for quick referral and specialist care if required.

UK researchers have issued the warning following a new report revealing that prognosis from infected diabetes foot ulcers are worse than previously thought.

Around one in 10 people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer at some point, but maintaining good blood glucose control and taking good care of your feet can reduce this risk. Attending annual health checks with your doctor is pivotal so your feet can be examined for any signs of damage.

"The key point is that people need to be seen quickly if an ulcer begins to form; that gives health workers the greatest chance of trying to treat the condition," said co-author Michael Backhouse, PhD, University of Leeds.

He added that this new data "should be useful to clinicians in various care settings to help identify people most at risk of poor outcomes who may need prioritization for increased interventions or referral to specialist centres."

The study entailed a 12-month follow-up of 250 people with diabetes who had participated in the Concordance in Diabetic Foot Ulcer Infection (CODIFI) study. The analysis showed that even if a patient's ulcer healed, around 10 per cent experienced a recurrence within 12 months. One in seven individuals had all or part of their foot amputated.

Other findings included ulcers taking longer to heal than previously thought, which was associated with poorer health outcomes.

Senior author E Andrea Nelson, PhD, RGN, University of Leeds, stated that the cohort was representative of the overall NHS patient population in England, with very few exclusion criteria, therefore the findings will apply broadly to people with infected diabetic foot ulcers in other countries.

Nelson and colleagues concluded that their findings should help doctors prioritise most at-risk patients, and added the data should also be useful to inform the design and analysis of future clinical studies.

The findings appear online in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
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