Diabetic Foot Wounds: double the death, double the heart attacks, none of the fun…but there’s hope.

This terrific meta analysis by the team from St. George’s shows a large increase in heart attack, stroke, and all-cause mortality. But…perhaps increased focus on aggressive cardiovascular risk modification might make a difference. Read on.

The association of ulceration of the foot with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in patients with diabetes: a meta-analysis.
Brownrigg JR, Davey J, Holt PJ, Davis WA, Thompson MM, Ray KK, Hinchliffe RJ.
St George’s Vascular Institute, 4th Floor, St James Wing, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, Blackshaw Road, London, SW17 0QT, UK.
It is well established that diabetes mellitus increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. Observational studies suggest that a history of diabetic foot ulceration (DFU) may increase this risk further still. We sought to determine to what extent DFU is associated with excess risk over and above diabetes.
We identified studies reporting on associations of DFU with CVD and all-cause mortality. We obtained data on incident events of all-cause mortality, fatal myocardial infarction and fatal stroke. Study-specific estimates were pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis and the statistical heterogeneity of included studies was assessed using the I (2) statistic.
The eight studies included reported on 3,619 events of all-cause mortality during 81,116 person-years of follow-up. DFU was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality (RR 1.89, 95% CI 1.60, 2.23), fatal myocardial infarction (2.22, 95% CI 1.09, 4.53) and fatal stroke (1.41, 95% CI 0.61, 3.24). CVD mortality accounted for a similar proportion of deaths in DFU and non-DFU patients.
Patients with DFU have an excess risk of all-cause mortality, compared with patients with diabetes without a history of DFU. This risk is attributable, in part, to a greater burden of CVD. If this result is validated in other studies, strategies should evaluate the role of further aggressive CVD risk modification and ulcer prevention in those with DFU.

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