People with diabetic foot problems can lower their risk of leg amputation by relying on coordinated care that includes a podiatrist, according to a recent study. For instance, those with diabetes-related foot ulcers can reduce their risk of amputation by 31 percent. In a study published online in the journal Health Services Research, researcher Frank Sloan, Ph.D., and colleagues looked at six years of Medicare claims data on nearly 190,000 diabetic patients with foot problems. The study included about 118,000 patients diagnosed as stage one, about 32,000 in stage two, 31,000 in stage three and 55,000 in stage four (some participants experienced more than one stage).
Dr. David Armstrong
“This study shows that coordinated care substantially reduces amputation rates,” said David Armstrong, DPM, a podiatrist and co-founder of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance. “We already knew that when care teams are developed to prevent amputation, in every case we see success. The study documents that this is true across the country.” Armstrong has no affiliation with the study.
Source: Elaine Zablocki, Health Behavior News Service [8/19/10]