Mader and coworkers present data that further highlight the importance of focusing on the patient in diabetic foot remission.
Patients with previous diabetic foot ulcer are prone to re-ulceration and (re)amputation, to various comorbidities, have significantly impaired quality of life and increased mortality. We aimed to evaluate the risk of foot related complications and mortality in a high-risk population of patients with healed diabetic foot syndrome over a decade. 91 patients with recently healed diabetic foot ulcer were invited for follow-up at 1, 6 and 11 years after inclusion. Patient characteristics at inclusion were: 40 women, 65 ± 11 years, diabetes type 1 (n = 6) or 2 (n = 85), BMI 28.5 ± 4.4 kg/m2, and HbA1c 68 ± 17 mmol/mol. Comorbidities included neuropathy (n = 91), peripheral artery disease (PAD), history of minor (n = 25) or major (n = 5, 5.5%) amputation, nephropathy (n = 40) and retinopathy (n = 53). Ulceration recurred in 71 (65%) patients, time to first recurrence was 1.8 ± 2.4 years (mean ± SD). 21 patients had to undergo (re)amputation (minor n = 19, major n = 2), time to amputation was 3.6 ± 1.9 years. Over time, 3 further major amputations were required in patients with an initial minor amputation. Thirty-three (36%) of the initially included patients completed the follow-up period of 11.0 ± 0.6 years. 58 patients (64%) died during the observational period, time to death was 5 ± 3 years in this group. We found overall high mortality of 64% throughout the follow-up period of 11 years in high-risk patients with healed diabetic foot syndrome. Presence of PAD, prior amputation and nephropathy as well as poor glycemic control were significantly predictive for death.