Patients in diabetic foot remission are at highest risk for future events

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.

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