Important work from Sicco Bus, et al. published in BMJ Diabetes This RCT (DIATEMP) suggests that it’s not enough just to know that you’ve a preulcerative hot spot– but you need to do something about it. In this case, patients were told to reduce activity.
Effectiveness of at-home skin temperature monitoring in reducing the incidence of foot ulcer recurrence in people with diabetes: a multicenter randomized controlled trial (DIATEMP)
Sicco A Bus 1, Wouter B Aan de Stegge 2 3, Jeff G van Baal 3, Tessa E Busch-Westbroek 2, Frans Nollet 2, Jaap J van Netten 2
Introduction: The skin of people with diabetic foot disease is thought to heat up from ambulatory activity before it breaks down into ulceration. This allows for early recognition of imminent ulcers. We assessed whether at-home monitoring of plantar foot skin temperature can help prevent ulcer recurrence in diabetes.
Research design and methods: In this parallel-group outcome-assessor-blinded multicenter randomized controlled trial (7 hospitals, 4 podiatry practices), we randomly assigned people with diabetes, neuropathy, foot ulcer history (<4 years, n=295), or Charcot’s neuro-arthropathy (n=9) to usual care (ie, podiatric treatment, education, and therapeutic footwear) or usual care plus measuring skin temperatures at 6-8 plantar sites per foot each day (enhanced therapy). If ∆T>2.2°C between corresponding sites on the left and right foot for two consecutive days, participants were instructed to reduce ambulatory activity until this hotspot disappeared and contact their podiatrist. Primary outcome was ulcer recurrence in 18 months on the plantar foot, interdigital, or medial/lateral/anterior forefoot surfaces; secondary outcome was ulcer recurrence at any foot site.
Results: On the basis of intention-to-treat, 44 of 151 (29.1%) participants in enhanced therapy and 57 of 153 (37.3%) in usual care had ulcer recurrence at a primary outcome site (RR: 0.782 (95%CI 0.566 to 1.080), p=0.133). Of the 83 participants in enhanced therapy who measured a hotspot, the 24 subsequently reducing their ambulatory activity had significantly fewer ulcer recurrences (n=3) than those in usual care (RR: 0.336 (95% CI 0.114 to 0.986), p=0.017). Enhanced therapy was effective over usual care for ulcer recurrence at any foot site (RR: 0.760 (95% CI 0.579 to 0.997), p=0.046).
Conclusions: At-home foot temperature monitoring does not significantly reduce incidence of diabetic foot ulcer recurrence at or adjacent to measurement sites over usual care, unless participants reduce ambulatory activity when hotspots are found, or when aiming to prevent ulcers at any foot site.